GREENSBORO N.C.—At least two schools in the University of North Carolina system are facing layoffs after lawmakers cut state spending to 13 of the 16 member institutions.
The News & Record of Greensboro reports North Carolina A&T Chancellor Harold Martin said his school will cut about 50 positions this fall. UNCG Chancellor Linda Brady said she’ll decide on job cuts next week.
The pending layoffs follow a move by the UNC Board of Governors on Friday to adjust the budgets of the 16 state universities affected by the new state spending plan that Gov. Pat McCrory signed last month.
When tuition revenues are factored in, 10 state universities including A&T and UNCG will have their annual operating budgets trimmed.
Martin said the bulk of the cuts will be staff positions, not professors, and most of the affected jobs are vacant. The university will notify employees who will lose their jobs over the next two weeks. He said A&T also will cut back some on custodial and groundskeeping services.
“We think maintaining the curb appeal of the university is important,” Martin said. “But we also think it’s important to maintain the quality and competitiveness of our university.”
At UNCG, Brady said she will meet on Monday with other top university officials and on Tuesday with her Budget Sounding Board, an advisory group of faculty and staff members and UNCG’s student government president. Brady said staff cuts are possible because about 80 percent of UNCG’s operating budget, like A&T’s, is salary and benefits.
If UNCG does cut positions, Brady said she will look first at vacant jobs, then seek to move affected employees into open spots.
Both chancellors said they hope to minimize the effect on their academic programs. Cutting faculty means fewer class offerings, they said, which makes it harder for students to graduate on time.
“Our No. 1 (budget) principle is that we will protect the academic core to the extent that we can,” Brady said.
The state budget reduced spending on the university system to $2.51 billion. That’s $64 million, or 2.5 percent, less than last year. Most state spending on higher education goes to academics.
UNC President Tom Ross said universities are producing more degrees for less money than ever before. UNC campuses will continue to work on being more efficient.
“It will not be easy,” Ross said. “There will be consequences.”