The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents unanimously approved a $20 million budget reduction plan Thursday morning.
In his proposal, President David Boren says OU has absorbed more than $80 million dollars in cuts and unfunded fixed cost increases since 2008.
The proposal includes a voluntarily retirement incentive that's expected to save $10 million. The other $10 million would come from eliminating vacant faculty and staff positions, and reducing purchasing and travel expenses in department budgets.
"We could wait until June to address the problem, but we know it is coming. We could wait and then frantically try to decide how to address the shortfalls. But I believe in the old Boy Scout motto, be prepared," he said.
The state is facing the worst budget crisis since the 1980s because of falling oil and gas production, he said.
"It's severe, very severe, and we simply must be in a position to react to it," Boren told regents during their regular monthly business meeting on Thursday.
Boren said it will be at least two years before OU gets beyond the budget cuts caused by the economic downturn.
Full-time faculty and staff 62 or older at the end of last year, and meet normal OU retirement age and service requirements are eligible for the program.
The effective retirement dates would likely be between June 30 and December 23 of this year, although it's possible that may be extended. That depends on the needs of the department.
OU says most salaried participants will receive a single lump sum payment of 75 percent of their annual base salary, up to $100,000. Hourly employees will receive a lump sum based on 1,560 hours of their pay rate, also up to $100,000.
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