UM Campuses Release 2018 Budget Plans With Few Specifics

May 10, 2017

Credit Jay Buffington / Wikimedia Commons

This post was updated at 11:10pm, 5/10/17

MU is cutting 12 percent of its budget from all schools, colleges and divisions on campus in fiscal year 2018, according to an afternoon email from Interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes.

"Good people and good programs will be affected," Stokes said in the email.

Few specifics were provided. Stokes' email mentioned personnel losses and the reallocation of certain programs but did not say which departments or programs stood to face the most cuts.

Specific cuts are left to the discretion of division leaders, and Stokes’ email requested those leaders determine who loses what using President Mun Choi’s guiding principles. Stokes also authorized leaders to use “one-time funds to bridge any costs that cannot be reduced immediately.”

The reason there aren’t more specifics is to protect personnel, she said in the email.

“Throughout this process, it will be important to recognize the balance between transparency and respecting personnel who might be affected,” the email said.

The email said one cost-cutting measure would be to reassign the Truman School of Public Affairs, which in recent history has been an autonomous unit, under the College of Arts and Science. In April, the search for a new dean for the Truman school was called off. 

Other proposed changes include moving the Environmental Health and Safety Department to the General Services building and sharing common services across units. 

Final details won’t be shared until after June 1.

In the meantime, MU will hold two forums for input and suggestions before the budget has to be submitted to Choi on May 19. The forums will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday and from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in Jesse Wrench Auditorium in the Memorial Student Union. 

Public input can also be shared in an online suggestion box.

Budget plans for fiscal year 2018 were released by all four UM System campuses Wednesday — one step in a system-wide planning timeline

The process began on April 3, when Choi sent an email announcing that cuts of 8 to 12 percent across the system would be necessary for fiscal year 2018. After the campus plans are submitted to Choi and reviewed, he and campus leaders are expected to share the final decisions with the UM community on June 2.

The cuts come on the heels of an expected decline in fall enrollment and a decrease in state funding.

 

On May 3, the Missouri General Assembly voted to reduce UM System core funding by 6.5 percent for the coming fiscal year. On top of that, MU announced on Friday that freshman fall enrollment is expected to be about 4,000 students, down from 4,772 last year and 6,191 the year before, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Other UM campuses are facing the same challenges.

Missouri University of Science and Technology's budget proposal breaks down cuts for different offices and programs, adding to about $6.9 million in cuts for fiscal year 2018. That’s actually greater than S&T’s $4.6 million expected shortfall. The remaining savings, plus about $35,000, are being used for new 2018 spending.

At the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the expected gap is $17.1 million, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rick Baniak said in an email. UMSL's current plan accounts for $14.1 million of that through a combination of tuition and fee increases, program consolidation and other factors, but a more detailed breakdown was not included. UMSL experienced a 5 percent drop in enrollment over the last year.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City’s plan calls for each unit to cut 3 percent from its budget. An email from campus leadership indicated that certain vacant positions will remain unfilled, and layoffs of up to about 30 people are expected.