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University trustees hear report from president on budget cut

University trustees hear report from president on 8 percent budget cut

May 4, 2012 - By Bob Moen, The Associated Press

LARAMIE -- The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees on Thursday contemplated an 8-percent budget cut that would cost the state's only four-year public university $15.6 million a year.

Falling energy revenues prompted Gov. Matt Mead to order state agencies to prepare for 8 percent budget cuts in the fiscal year that starts July 2013. That cut is twice what the Wyoming Legislature had directed state agencies to prepare for earlier this year.

While specifics still have to be worked out over the next couple of weeks, UW President Tom Buchanan addressed the board on how the university should approach cutting its budget.

"Certainly this is a reduction of a magnitude that will be felt broadly across the campus and by many folks, but we're not looking to put a cookie-cutter on the university and assume that every academic unit, every program or every service that we provide can absorb the same level of impact," Buchanan said.

The board received a report from UW staff that outlined general cuts and what they might mean for the university.

Athletic recruiting, student services, class sizes and scholarship money are some areas that could see reductions in funding, according to the report.

The university has a principle of reducing faculty and staff as a last resort, but since personnel costs make up about 80 percent of the university's operating budget, job cuts are nearly unavoidable, UW staff say.

"It will be very difficult to have an 8-percent budget reduction without impacting personnel," Don Richards, UW vice president for government and community affairs, said.

Trustee David Bostrom said board members need to impress upon the governor and lawmakers what the cuts mean in terms of educating Wyoming's college students.

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