UNK announces $3.4 million in proposed cuts
The University of Nebraska at Kearney announced some huge budget cuts.
On Monday, Chancellor Doug Kristensen and Athletic Director Dr. Paul Plinske, announced cuts that exceed $3.4 million dollars, affecting 38 positions across nearly every campus unit. A big topic of conversation are three sports teams that could be eliminated. However, the majority of these cuts are with faculty members, professors and lecturers seeing the hits most.
UNK said the $3.4 million dollar budget gap is due, in part, to decreased state funding, declining credit hours and scheduled salary and benefit increases.
"State revenues are down, and the legislature last year and the governor's recommendations cut us substantially, we're addressing that. We've had some credit hour loss so we've got a few less students paying tuition,” said Kristensen.
Kristensen said the community has always been supportive of the university. He said now is the time to realize how serious this is.
"But, there's also the pull that perhaps we're gonna have another budget reduction and we need to get ready that we've gotta pay our bills. We can't go out and borrow money we have to balance those books and we've got to do that by the end of the year,” said Kristensen.
Though many faculty and staff will be losing their jobs, UNK staff said it's the over 6,600 students that could take a hit in the future.
"I think it's an overall loss of quality and quantity and support to the institution and I think that when you look at the number of positions it's significant enough that our students are gonna feel it. Our alumni are gonna feel it and I think that Nebraskans are gonna feel it as well,” said Vice Chancellor of Communications, Kelly Bartling.
Bartling said one thing that has not been ironed out yet is tuition. She said they are already looking at an increase, and if these cuts are not enough, an increase could be significant.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green released a statement shortly after the announcement:
"This is not the first time we have had to make these tough decisions - this is the third cut to the university budget in less than a year...And, as sad as it is to say, unless something changes dramatically, it is not going to be the last cut either," Green said.
A budget hearing is set in the appropriations committee starting at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
You can find a more detailed list of these proposed cuts and reductions here.