Budget cut summary shows reductions to personnel, operations

By Staff

Budget cuts across the University of Colorado system for the 2009-10 fiscal year (beginning July 1) affected positions more than operations, according to data released by the Office of Budget and Finance.

The university cut $16.1 million in salary and benefits and $10.1 million in operations, and planned for $3.7 million in revenue from enrollment growth at the Downtown Denver and Colorado Springs campuses. The cuts were in response to a $50 million reduction in state funding CU suffered in the recently concluded legislative session. The university's state budget went from $209 million at the beginning of the current fiscal year to $159 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

The state will use $50 million in stimulus funding to backfill the university's budget in each of the next two fiscal years, but CU President Bruce D. Benson said it is prudent to make cuts now due to mandated cost increases and a looming shortfall when stimulus funds evaporate in two years. Cost increases next fiscal year include $8 million in health/life/dental costs and $2 million in other costs such as supplemental PERA contributions.

"We are heading for a cliff when the state can no longer provide us stimulus funds," Benson said. "We have a two-year planning horizon, and if we don't act now and spread out reductions, we will face disastrous cuts.

CU-Boulder took the largest reduction at $12.9 million ($6.6 million in salary/benefits and $6.3 million in operations), followed by UC Denver at $11.4 million ($4.9 million in salary/benefits and $6.5 million in operations). System administration cut $6.3 million ($4.8 million in salary/benefits and $1.5 million in operations) and UCCS cut $1.9 million ($706,000 in salary/benefits and $1.2 million in operations). There was about $3.6 million in revenue generation across the system.

The moves resulted in the reduction of nearly 250 full-time equivalency positions. Of those, 203.3 were vacant and 46.4 were occupied.

"In a personnel intensive enterprise like higher education, cuts unfortunately mean reductions to people and positions," said Kelly Fox, vice president and chief financial officer. "Our goal was to be strategic with cuts rather than take and across-the-board approach."

Fox said the university will continue the process in the 2009-10 fiscal year with additional budget balancing measures of approximately $21 million. The measures will be a combination of revenue enhancements and budget reductions.