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UMSL to trim another 2.5 percent from its budget

A student walks through the University of Missouri-St. Louis' campus Friday afternoon, May 19, 2017.
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio
A student walks through the University of Missouri-St. Louis' campus Friday afternoon.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis will reduce its spending by another 2.5 percent, campus leaders announced Friday, meeting a deadline that is part of a budget cutting process across the University of Missouri System.

UMSL’s latest budget cuts are not as deep as other campuses in the UM System, largely because it has been contracting its spending and employment for several years.

“This has not been an exercise to reduce our budget,” Chancellor Tom George wrote in a letter to the school's faculty and staff. “Instead, this is concerted effort to move resources to sustain and grow areas of excellence in high demand by students, businesses and the community we serve.”

UM System President Mun Choi ordered an 8 percent-12 percent budget reduction across the state when he took over earlier this year, but also called for the system to find new ways to generate revenue.

UMSL will “streamline” human resources, information technology and facilities departments, George said. Details on how many jobs could be lost weren’t included.

An announced change in retiree medical benefits has also prompted a record number of older workers to retire before the changes go into effect, according to George.

The college will hire faculty and staff to support growing academic programs, George said. The school expects revenue to increase by $5 million dollars next year, which includes an expected 2 percent tuition increase and higher student fees.

Next year’s state budget will provide 6.5 percent less money to UM. That follows a nearly 7 percent withholding of state fund by Republican Gov. Eric Greitens this year. Enrollment has also dropped at Mizzou and UMSL.

Last year UMSL found itself $15 million over budget. It eliminated 85 positions and is on pace to close the budget gap by the end of this fiscal year.

Mizzou leaders said earlier this week it will cut nearly 400 staff positions. The University of Missouri-Kansas City said it will trim 20-30 workers.

Choi is expected to finalize the budget plan June 2.

The University of Missouri Board of Curators holds the license to St. Louis Public Radio. The station is editorially independent.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @rpatrickdelaney

Ryan was an education reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.