The University of Kentucky's colleges and support units will eliminate 81 positions to help cope with a $9.4 million budget shortfall this coming academic year.
The cuts, approved Tuesday by the UK Board of Trustees, will force 12 staff members across the colleges out of work, while 40 vacant staff jobs and 29 open faculty positions will go unfilled. Twenty-two staff positions would be saved because the university will use other revenue — not general tuition or state appropriations — for them under UK's 2009-10 budget.
It will be the second straight year without raises for all faculty and staff.
"I really regret that we have not been able to provide an increase for the second year in a row," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr.
Ernest J. Yanarella, a political science professor and a faculty trustee, called the budget "a bitter pill to swallow."
"There's clearly a declining morale among faculty," he said.
UK, like other public universities in Kentucky, is making the cuts in preparation for another drop in state funding.
Gov. Steve Beshear last week proposed keeping public universities' funding flat from this year to the fiscal year beginning July 1. That would represent almost a $10 million drop from the nearly $320 million UK was expecting.
Although UK's state funding has been cut 8 percent since 2007, university officials are grateful, considering that other state agencies will suffer 22 percent reductions during that time, said Angie Martin, UK's vice president of planning, budgeting and policy analysis.
"Education really has been spared up to this point," she told the trustees.
Still, stagnant state support coupled with increased enrollment and rising costs of health care over recent years has forced the reductions. Further compounding the problems is a loss of $6.5 million in investment income during the last year because of the faltering stock market, Martin said.
In all, the colleges and support units are slashing $7.3 million through the job cuts and reduction in some travel, operations and research support.
The rest of the money to cover the university's expected $9.4 million gap in the $2.4 billion budget will come from shifting funds to future budgets, such as delaying for at least a year the planned construction of a data center.
Not all UK colleges will see their bottom lines shrink. In fact, many of them will see slight increases.
The biggest difference in a college's bottom line will be in the Pharmacy College, which will receive $4.8 million less in general funds. That's because its continuing education office has been transferred to UK HealthCare operations, which is a separate fund. Officials moved that office after an audit this spring revealed improper spending by some employees.
UK is coping with $3.3 million in additional personnel costs from areas such as higher health premiums for employees.
Utility bills also will rise by $4 million, with half of that stemming from the new pharmacy building that will open in January.
The budget, which takes effect July 1, reveals how UK is increasingly relying on students' tuition money while state support for instruction has remained largely stagnant over the last decade.
In March, the trustees approved a 5 percent tuition increase. The rate increase and growing enrollment over the last 10 years means UK brings in $272 million from students compared with $121 million a decade ago.
The approved budget also includes what administrators say are bright spots that will be key to UK's long-term goals. They include:
■ Money for scholarships will increase by $2 million from last year, to $57.9 million. A half-million dollars of that comes from an increase in scholarship contributions from the UK Athletics Association.
■ The university is budgeting $6 million for academic program enhancements. That will include improvements to distance learning and money to cover enrollment expansion in the pharmacy, health sciences and nursing programs, Martin said.
■ The university will spend $1 million to plan for new general education requirements that will shrink class sizes and reduce the number of required courses all students must have to graduate. That will make it possible for students to take more classes in their major fields of study.
Once implemented in fall 2011, UK will need $4.6 million a year to cover costs of additional instruction.
"That's going to be a transformational change in the undergraduate education in this institution," Todd said of the new general education plan.