The University of Maine system is facing a 43-million dollar shortfall over the next four years.The Board of Trustees met in Bangor today where a new plan to close the gap was proposed.Chelsey Anderson has the details.————Even with an expected 43 million dollar shortfall, there were words of hope and appreciation at the Board of Trustees meeting in Bangor.”We’ve had good conversations. I look forward to moving ahead at a stead pace.”University of Maine System Chancellor Richard Pattenaude presented a multi-year plan to close the financial gap. Chancellor Pattenaude: “This is a bold but not radical plan. It’s going to take several years. There are some short term and long term things, but this is about lifting up the system and really aiming it in a good positive direction for the future.”The Chancellor says they have worked to accomplish a balanced budget, and provide quality and affordable education while still creating new programs and research efforts.Board Chair Joe Wishcamper says budget cuts will impact students and academic affairs last. But one proposal is to cut classes that have 12 or fewer students, saving two million dollars.Wishcamper: “We are going to need to cut some areas and we’re going to need to grow some areas, be it. We really need to be thoughtful about doing it.”Chancellor Pattenaude: “We’re going to try to take care of those priorities that strengthen areas that are needed, like healthcare and nursing, and tighten down areas where student interest is flagging.”Each campus is undergoing reviews on what those changes will be. One thing is certain. The campuses will not be consolidating: a possibility mentioned once before.The Chancellor hopes people realize this proposal is about the strength of the system and the strength of the state.Chancellor Pattenaude: “The future of Maine depends upon an educated workforce. We have to continue to contribute and evolve so that we do that.”The University of Maine System wants to hear from you. You can read a draft copy of the proposed plan at maine.edu and leave your feedback. It will be reviewed at the next Trustees meeting in November.