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PSU Cuts 19 Jobs - KOAM TV 7

PSU Cuts 19 Jobs

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Pittsburg State University is cutting 19 positions.

PSU officials announced the cuts today (April 26th,2018). They say it's due to stagnant state funding, increasing costs and enrollment pressures. The employees impacted by today's announcement were alerted this week.

"These are the most difficult decisions I've had to make during my 30 years at Pittsburg State," said Pittsburg State University President Steve Scott. "It's a life-changing moment for our employees and their families. We're going to do everything possible to help them in this difficult time."

Administrators say the affected employees will continue to be paid through mid-June, receive job placement assistance through the university's Office of Career Services, and have preferred status for university job openings over the next 12 months.

Pittsburg State has faced declining enrollment in recent years, especially in international students, and has faced increasing costs and declining state funding, which remains at the same level it was in 2006. 

"We've joined with the Kansas Board of Regents in actively advocating for additional state funding for many years," said Scott. "Those efforts have clearly, and sadly, not resonated with the legislative leadership. Our employees shouldn't have to face the uncertainty that results from this stagnant funding. As we look ahead, we remain concerned about our state leaders' lack of interest in higher education and, ultimately, in the future of the state. Our employees, our university and our community deserve better."

According to PSU, today's layoffs are part of a long-term cost reduction plan by the university. Since late 2016, the university has cut General Fund budgets by nearly $5 million, including the reduction of 47 full-time positions. These positions have been in areas throughout campus including unclassified and support staff as well as faculty. When combined with today's job cuts, the university has reduced its full-time employees by more than 7 percent over the past 18 months.

A Budget Prioritization Work Group, created last year, has given administrators recommendations to help find potential operational cost savings. They say actions have been taken to get those savings, including utility efficiencies, reduced equipment and operational spending, and administrative and academic restructuring.

"Every office and department has played a role in helping us through this difficult time," said Ball. "Faculty are taking on additional responsibilities and staff are shouldering new roles in order to limit the impact on our students. It's admirable, but I share the President's concern about the long-term repercussions for our campus."

"The stagnation of state funding stands out when you look at the robust support our university has enjoyed from our region," said Scott. "The City of Pittsburg, Crawford County, and individual and corporate donors have invested in our university. They believe in us and have helped us move forward in recent years. If our political leaders would show the same interest in higher education that our local partners do, our entire state would benefit."

Even with the lack of state support and financial pressures, Scott said he remained optimistic about the future.

"The strength of this university remains, just as it has for over 100 years, in the quality of its academics and the support of its community," said Scott. "These haven't changed. We have a clear vision and, thanks to our 'Pathway to Prominence' Strategic Plan, the means to make it a reality. Because of this, Pittsburg State will continue to be the first choice for students, scholars and economic partners."

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