Interim UMKC Chancellor: 'Hard Hiring Freeze' Until Perilous Budget Situation Improves

Aug 30, 2017

UMKC needs to save $24 million over the next two years, according to university officials.
Credit UMKC Marketing & Communications / Flickr -- CC

More cuts may be coming at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

An email Interim Chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer sent to staff Wednesday suggested that the budget situation was even worse than anticipated. UMKC is already operating with a budgeted deficit of $4.5 million for the fiscal year that began July 1.

“We also are now aware of additional risks that were not contemplated in initial budgeting,” Bichelmeyer wrote. “Most importantly, we still will need to make selected strategic investments that will require reallocations from within our existing budgets.”

UMKC will freeze hiring and continue to look for ways to save $24 million over the next two years, Bichelmeyer says. The entire UM System is strapped for cash after a one-two punch of state budget cuts and low enrollment at the flagship campus in Columbia. More than 200 positions have been eliminated systemwide, including 30 here in Kansas City.

“Very few waivers” to the hiring freeze will be granted, Bichelmeyer wrote in the email.

Bichelmeyer was appointed interim chancellor earlier this month after Leo Morton announced he would depart in the fall rather than wait until spring 2018 to retire. 

Editor's note: KCUR 89.3 is licensed by UMKC.

Elle Moxley covers Missouri schools and politics for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.