The University of Kansas is going to slash the budgets of every department and unit on the Lawrence campus, including central administration, by 5.87 percent to cut costs for fiscal year 2019.
The university announced late Tuesday afternoon that the cuts will be implemented beginning July 1 and will trim $20 million from the campus budget.
"Staying the current course is not an option," said Carl Lejuez, interim provost and executive vice chancellor at KU. He said the cuts can not be spread over several years because such a move would not advance the university to financial stability.
"If we make no changes in the coming year, we will have overspent our budget with no remaining balances to support this overspending, and operations will be short a minimum of $50 million within five years."
University officials blame a decade-long trend of declines in state funding for higher education combined with "many long-term commitments and investments that each year have exceeded revenue, combined with institutional budgeting practices inconsistent with the current challenges of higher education funding," a news release said.
"The map to move us forward readjusts our budget to meet our obligations and helps us put our students, staff and faculty first," Lejuez said.
Lejuez said, despite the cuts, the university is committed to keeping tuition as low as possible and said KU intends to also enact a plan for presenting annual merit raises, "even if small at first."
Lejuez said he already has met with department heads about how they will manage the budget cuts in their respective department and units.
The provost and his leadership team also have started developing a longer-term plan to create a new budget model for the university.
"We believe these measures, combined with existing positives — including partial budget restorations from the Kansas Legislature and stable enrollments at a time when many other universities have seen decreases — will lead to quick recovery and sustainability moving forward," Lejuez said.
Applauding the provost for the move, Chancellor Douglas Girod said that while the cuts will be difficult, "this is the right strategy to address our challenges and put us in a position of strength as quickly as possible."