University of Kansas budget cuts involves buyout program

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – The University of Kansas plans to cut $20 million from its budget by leaving many vacant faculty positions unfilled and implementing a buyout program for older faculty members.

KU Interim Provost Carl Lejuez presented the budget cut proposal at a town hall meeting Wednesday, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

The university’s voluntary retirement program that was adopted in August offers a buyout option to tenured and tenure-track faculty who are 62 or older. Lejuez said the university will use the new buyout program in tandem with unfilled faculty positions to make savings.

Lejeuz said 45 faculty members have applied for the voluntary retirement program so far. He expects more than 50 faculty members will sign up by the program’s Oct. 5 deadline, which could save about $5 million for the university’s operational units and $2 million in the budget’s base funds.

The program gives the university flexibility to either refill or eliminate the positions, Lejeuz said.

Professor Kirk McClure, president of the university’s Faculty Senate, expressed concern that eliminating the retiring employees’ positions will negatively affect recruiting talented professors to the school.

University departments are also planning to reduce the number of graduate teaching assistants, delay facility renovations and cut back on faculty travel funds.