Even before the supplemental budget that recommends 6 percent cuts for the University of Wyoming has passed the legislature, UW has been actively preparing for the expected cuts.
As the first portion of a two-year effort, the university has eliminated 42 non-academic staff positions and is holding open 12 faculty positions as initial steps to prepare for cuts that would kick in at the start of July. The non-academic position eliminations will save the university $1.24 million a year. The proactive reduction strategy, UW said in a release, will help avoid employee layoffs when reduced budgets take effect.
"This is prudent action on the part of the university, but each of these eliminated positions represents a loss of UW's capacity to accomplish its mission," UW President Tom Buchanan said in a release. "The individual units that have lost these positions may feel the impacts sooner than others but, before long, every UW stakeholder will feel them."
Even so, UW will most likely be spared the worst of the cuts. Gov. Matt Mead earlier this year requested 8 percent cuts before scaling the cut requests on higher education back to 6 percent. While cuts in the initial supplemental budget vary across agencies to average out to 6.5 percent, Mead said he would "lead by example" through cuts in the governor's office and mansion of a full 10 percent.
The university's plan to meet cuts called for a reduction in non-personnel expenses of 14 percent, with just a 3.5 percent cut in personnel expenses. Even so, the 3.5 percent reduction for personnel will result in the elimination of an estimated 100 non-academic positions and 24 faculty positions, meaning the university isn't yet halfway to its destination.
"We appreciate the fact that the governor has proposed, and that legislators are considering, a smaller reduction for higher education than some other parts of state government," Buchanan said. "At the same time, a 6 percent reduction is substantial, and it can only be accomplished by trimming our budgets for salaries and wages."
More information about UW's process to reduce faculty and staff positions can be found on the UW website at http://www.uwyo.edu/acadaffairs/plans/budget/
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