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McGinity Outlines Approach to Funding Cuts at the University of Wyoming

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Adam Porter, Townsquare Media

University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity says the impacts of UW’s most severe budget cuts in the last 30 years will be felt throughout the university community.

According to a message McGinity released Monday, UW leaders will recommend individual program and position cuts in the coming weeks. McGinity says the administration prefers to shed jobs through attrition rather than layoffs, but it is too early to tell exactly what cuts administrators will recommend.

“Everything must be on the table,” writes McGinity.

UW must cut its budget by 1.5 percent for the next two years — a reduction of $5.8 million from 2016 spending levels — and McGinity says university administrators should prepare for further cuts, as the financial future of Wyoming and its only public, four-year university will likely worsen.

According to McGinity, the Legislature may require UW to cut 5 percent for fiscal year 2017-2018.

McGinity says the Legislature’s mandate leaves the UW administration working to cut $7 million for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, equal to about 3.5 percent of the university’s $204.5 million annual operating budget.

McGinity warns that things will get worse before they get better, though he is hopeful that UW will emerge from the economic downturn as a stronger institution.

“But there’s no question that a $7 million cut — equal to about 3.5 percent of UW’s $205.4 million annual operating budget — will be felt by UW’s employees, students and other constituents,” writes McGinity.

University employees saw their first pay raises in five years during the current biennium, but there are no further raises in sight. McGinity says UW will rely on internal reallocations and scheduled tuition increases to pay competitive salaries.

On the bright side, lawmakers approved millions in funding for UW programs and construction projects, including $100 million to build a Science Initiative facility and $14.5 million to finish the Engineering Education and Research Building.

The UW Athletics Department will receive $4 million in state matching dollars in each of the next two years — a cut from the $5 million appropriated in the current fiscal year — to fund construction of the Mick and Susie McMurray High Altitude Performance Center and enhance services for student-athletes.

“Many of you may question why the Legislature has reduced the university’s block grant while funding new programs and buildings,” writes McGinity. “That is a legitimate question, and there is no simple answer.”

McGinity says state leaders want UW to advance key initiatives despite the economic downturn.

“This challenge is not insurmountable, but responding to it requires the combined efforts of everyone – working together,” writes McGinity.

Read About the Budget Request Submitted by UW Trustees

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