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UT president outlines belt-tightening measures

UT president outlines belt-tightening measures

Posted: Thursday, December 4, 2008 9:52 pm
By: AP

 NASHVILLE (AP) — A University of Tennessee Board of Trustees committee Wednes-day reviewed cost-cutting measures in the wake of funding reductions for higher education. Gov. Phil Bredesen has asked each state department for reductions of as much as 15 percent to take care of a budget shortfall of potentially $800 million this year. Higher education accounts for about $1.2 billion of the state budget, and Bredesen anticipates cutting roughly $150 million from it. UT President John Petersen told the board’s Effectiveness and Efficiency for the Future Committee in Nashville that UT’s portion of that amount would be $48 million to $72 million. University officials expect to get a firm budget cut figure from the state in mid-December, and plans call for presenting a proposed UT budget to the governor in January, Petersen said. Committee members heard a list of specific cost-cutting ac-tions already taken or planned. Hiring restrictions, decreased energy consumption and reduced operating expenditures have already taken place. A review of programs for possible consolidation or elimination and a statewide review of all vacant positions for possible elimination are under way. The UT System has cut more than $2 million by eliminating vacant positions since July 1 and will begin using electronic paystubs for employees to save $146,000 a year. Knoxville campus officials are implementing efforts to reduce coal, electric and natural gas consumption by 10 percent to save $2 million and will use electronic student billing statements to save $88,000. UT-Chattanooga has eliminated tenure-track faculty lines to save $200,000, has cut operating costs by more than $500,000 and cut vacant positions. Cost-savings plans at UT-Martin propose to save the campus nearly $1 million by cutting utility costs, eliminating vacant positions and consolidating offices and operations. More than 500 cost-savings ideas have been gathered from UT campuses and institutes statewide, and a UT task force working with the EEF Committee members is compiling and reviewing those suggestions. Published in The Messenger 12.4.08

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