University of Southern Maine Faculty Senate members will need to come up with $1.26 million in savings to avert the layoffs of a dozen faculty members, USM President Theodora Kalikow said in an email that laid out financial details of the university’s budget crisis.

The Faculty Senate has until May 31 to suggest alternative cuts in academic programs to avoid the layoffs, which Kalikow proposed as part of an effort to cut $14 million, or 10 percent of the university’s $140 million budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

“We have a chance to reach our target,” Kalikow wrote in the email, which was sent Thursday to the faculty and staff. She said the USM administration has already booked $4.5 million in savings, and that University of Maine System Chancellor James Page planned to provide $7 million in one-time funds from the system’s emergency reserve account, which currently has $15 million.

A university spokeswoman said the $4.5 million in savings was the result of 26 staff layoffs since July 2013, not filling vacant positions and flat-funding deferred maintenance costs.

Kalikow also proposed cutting four academic programs and up to 35 staff positions. She has since restored one of the programs, but still plans to eliminate geosciences, American and New England Studies, and the arts and humanities program at Lewiston-Auburn College.

If those programs are cut, seven professors will be laid off. Faculty Senate members have said they hope to find additional savings to mitigate some, if not all, of the proposed cuts.

USM’s budget crunch is part of a $36 million funding gap in the University of Maine System that officials say is caused by flat state funding, declining enrollment and tuition freezes.

Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:

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