The University of California campus in Berkeley. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The University of California at Berkeley plans to cut about 500 staff positions during the next two years, a workforce reduction of about 6 percent that comes as the prestigious public flagship is moving to erase a large budget deficit.

UC-Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks disclosed the budget moves Monday evening in a memo to the campus community. The San Francisco Chronicle reported the staff cuts Tuesday. In February, Dirks had warned “painful” measures were needed to deal with a “substantial and growing” budget deficit.

Berkeley officials said at the time that the school’s expenses were projected to exceed revenue this year by about $150 million, or 6 percent of its operating budget.

The staff cuts announced this week would not affect faculty. Dirks said he expects to use “normal attrition and position control” to achieve the reductions. Whether any layoffs would result is still unknown. The university has about 8,500 employees in its non-faculty workforce.

“The resulting staffing levels would be consistent with those we had in the fairly recent past; hence, we are confident that these represent a feasible target,” Dirks wrote. The reduction was expected to yield savings of about $50 million a year.

Dirks warned that more needs to be done, through academic realignment, philanthropic fund-raising and other measures. He said there are “hard decisions ahead of us that we need to make as a community – but we are making significant progress.”

Berkeley, with about 37,000 students, is perennially ranked atop the U.S. News and World Report list of top public universities. State financial support for Berkeley and other UC campuses has risen somewhat recently, but it remains much much lower than it was a generation ago. About 13 percent of Berkeley’s operating revenue came from state appropriations in 2014-2015, down from roughly 50 percent in the 1980s.