Update on Budget Planning
Update on budget planning
Email from Larry Sampler, Vice President of Administration, Finance and Facilities/COO
July 20, 2020
I know that recent budget decisions have been unnerving for many in our community. Despite anticipating the pain we are feeling from this budget crunch for many months, it is incredibly hard to eliminate positions and say goodbye to colleagues. As President Davidson noted in her last email, we do not expect any further layoffs at this time, but the budget continues to present us with major challenges.
To honor our commitment to transparency, I’m writing to share more about what we anticipate as next steps as we continue to grapple with the budget. Fall enrollment is among our top concerns right now. As part of our standard budgeting process, led by the Budget Recommendation Committee (see team list below), we’d planned to absorb a 5% enrollment decline, if needed, as part of a projected $14 million budget shortfall. As of this writing, our enrollment is down 9.9%. Even after all the difficult work that has already been done, if our enrollment stays at this level, we would still be more than $3 million short. Given this reality, we have no choice but to consider every cost-reduction tool available to us.
Mandatory furloughs are one such tool. While no decision has been made yet, it seems likely we will need to enact these furloughs as early as August. I am providing more details on what this would look like so you can begin planning in your departments, offices and branches. Thank you to the BRC and its Compensation Subcommittee, as well as the Faculty Senate, for their support and analysis in our inclusive contingency-planning efforts and for doing so with employee impact as your guiding principle.
If adopted, all non-classified professional staff making over $50,000 annually would be required to take some furlough days over the course of this fiscal year. Furloughs are unpaid days off, during which employees do not work. I’ve included a chart below to show how many days would be required for professional staff in each tier. Employees that are already participating in voluntary furloughs or leaves of absence would not be asked to increase their number of days unless the original request was less than what is listed in the chart. This tiered approach places the least burden on those with the lowest annual income.