UMPI leader: No specifics yet on budget cuts

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted March 19, 2009, at 9:25 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Officials at the University of Maine at Presque Isle are waiting to see how the campus will be affected by potential changes in enrollment, federal stimulus money and a $42 million shortfall in the University of Maine System in the next four years.

UMPI President Don Zillman said Thursday the college is still establishing what its budget will look like for the coming fiscal year.

The exploration comes as campuses in the University of Maine System are working to slash expenses and trying to do more with less.

Earlier this week, University of Maine President Robert Kennedy said that layoffs would be “inevitable” at the Orono campus because it must cut $8.6 million from its budget for the coming fiscal year.

The University of Maine at Fort Kent will have to come up with $500,000 in reductions for this fiscal year because of a drop in enrollment and the systemwide budget woes.

While UMPI’s Zillman said he was aware of the systemwide shortfall, he said the Presque Isle campus had not established a solid dollar amount to cut from its budget.

Funding for higher education has been made available as part of the recently enacted federal stimulus bill. Zillman said that UMPI expects to receive some of the money.

“We are still looking at enrollment figures and waiting to hear about how much of the economic stimulus money we are going to receive,” he said.

He acknowledged the university could face layoffs, and that officials could consider consolidating services or not filling open positions in order to reduce its budget, but again stressed that nothing is final.

Despite the blurry financial picture, Zillman remained optimistic Thursday.

“I still feel very good about UMPI’s future,” he said. “We have a lot of exciting programs and projects that we are working on. We have adopted a wait-and-see attitude about the financial picture, and bits and pieces of it are becoming clearer each week. We expect to know more in the coming weeks.”

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http://bangordailynews.com/2009/03/19/news/umpi-leader-no-specifics-yet-on-budget-cuts/ printed on August 2, 2014