Bigger budget at UK despite belt tightening

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The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees Tuesday approved a new 2.4 billion dollar budget. That's up more than $212 million from last year, despite all the cutbacks.

For the coming academic year, UK was slated to get nearly $320 million from the state, but with the state budget now facing an unprecedented deficit, the university arrived at the table prepared to implement Plan B.

Angie Martin, UK's Vice President of Planning and Budgeting, tells 27 NEWSFIRST, "We put in reserve 9.4 million dollars or the equivalent of 3% of the state appropriations in anticipation of a budget cut."

UK approved a 5% tuition increase this spring, the highest allowed by the Council on Post-secondary Education, but Martin says even that won't generate the kind of revenue needed.

"We're budgeting about 17 million dollars worth of tuition increase, and we do have some problems with investment income like most people do so our funding gap is 9.9 million dollars," she said.

Among the cost cutting measures this budget requires is the elimination of some teaching positions, only a dozen of which are currently filled.

Martin explains the job cuts this way, "6.7 million dollars is being eliminated from positions. We're going to have 40 vacant staff positions eliminated, and we're eliminating 12 filled staff positions."

UK operates it's own employee health insurance program, the cost of which is going up by about 2 million dollars, but the good news there is that employees will not be expected to pay for that increase.

Martin says, "The employees cost is going to stay the same if they're under the UK HMO program. So the university is shouldering all of that increase."

In the last 10 years, UK's overall operating budget has more than doubled while the percentage of state appropriations in that budget has decreased by more than 10%.

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