UMKC Lays Off 30 Workers In Response To State Budget Cuts

May 18, 2017

UMKC Chancellor warned in an email last week that layoffs were coming. This week the university axed 30 employees.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The University of Missouri-Kansas City confirmed Thursday that it laid off 30 people this week as part of a plan to cut up to $30 million in spending over the next two years.

The university refused to say exactly when the layoffs happened or what departments were cut. When first contacted about the layoffs, UMKC spokesman John Martellaro replied in an email, "We do not comment on personnel matters."  When pressed, Martellaro finally confirmed the layoffs. "Yes, layoffs have occurred," he wrote in another email. 

Last Tuesday, UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton sent an email to all staff suggesting layoffs were coming. "Based on current draft budgets for FY2018, we anticipate there will be a small number of layoffs or non-renewals of employees who work on annual contracts," he wrote.

The email said UMKC also "plans to achieve significant savings through attrition" but, again, no details have been provided.

More information should be forthcoming soon. Morton said in his email that "UMKC will turn in its budget strategy to the UM System President" Friday.

Last week, the Columbia campus said it will cut 400 positions including 100 layoffs.

All of this is due to severe budget cuts from the state. The Missouri General Assembly passed a budget cutting 6.5 percent from universities statewide. That's on top of a 7.6 percent cut imposed by Gov. Eric Greitens in January.

KCUR is licensed to the University of Missouri Board of Curators and is an editorially independent community service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR and the Kansas News Service and is co-host of the political podcast Statehouse Blend Kansas. Follow him on Twitter @SamZeff.