FARMINGTON, Maine — University of Maine-Farmington President Kathryn Foster announced last week that 18 positions have been eliminated as part of a 9 percent campus spending reduction aimed at balancing the university’s budget for fiscal year 2015.
Of the positions eliminated, 15 were vacant, according to a prepared statement from UMF in response to a query from the Bangor Daily News on Tuesday. No departments were eliminated. The filled positions that were cut included one each from the library, admissions and academic affairs. The reduction of 18 positions is expected to save the university $1.65 million, according to the statement.
UMF also will cut its budget by another $1.34 million by reducing spending on services and supplies and postponing capital investments, the statement said.
University officials expect that the position eliminations and the cuts in spending will reduce UMF’s $31 million budget by 9 percent for fiscal year 2015.
The cuts at UMF are in response to a $36 million budget shortfall affecting all seven of the University of Maine System campuses. If the system continues to spend the way it is now, it will be $70 to $90 million in debt in five years, according to materials presented to the system’s board of trustees in January.
In February, University of Maine president Paul Ferguson sent a letter to faculty and other employees warning of impending cuts at the Orono campus. According to the letter, UMaine’s portion of the budget gap is $11 million.
The UMF statement said the cuts at the Farmington campus will “achieve efficiencies that will preserve the quality of its students’ educational experience in a financially responsible and sustainable way while balancing its budget for fiscal year 2015.”
The statement also said that the university’s human resources department will offer assistance to those whose positions were cut.
UMF was established in 1864 as Maine’s first public higher education institution, according to the university’s website. In the fall of 2013, 2,061 graduate and undergraduate students were enrolled.
“These systemwide budget shortfalls are not one-time or unforeseen events,” the statement read. “They result from a variety of factors including intense fiscal pressures on the state Legislature and a declining statewide demographic of college students.”
Enrollment at UMS schools declined by about 9.7 percent between 2007 and 2013, according to the 2012 annual financial report and the 2013 enrollment report. Total enrollment at all seven campuses was 30,365 in the fall of 2013.