Furloughs ahead for MCG, ASU

Six days of furloughs lie ahead for Medical College of Georgia and Augusta State University personnel, and potentially even layoffs for some at MCG, as schools submitted their plans Monday for further state budget cuts.

 

University System of Georgia institutions had until Monday afternoon to lay out ideas for cutting 4 percent, 6 percent and up to 8 percent from already ravaged budgets.

Both Augusta schools will implement furloughs, with half coming before the end of the calendar year at MCG. A 4 percent cut would mean chopping $6.1 million for MCG, and 8 percent would mean $12.2 million, said William Bowes, senior vice president for finance and administration. At the lower end, the MCG cuts could be made up by the furloughs and eliminating some of the 90 vacant positions, Mr. Bowes said.

At the highest level, it would mean eliminating positions and possibly as many as 55 layoffs, he said.

"We're trying to avoid that as much as we can," he said.

Augusta State's furloughs will save it about $700,000, the largest part of its cost-cutting measure, according to information submitted by the school. It is unclear from that information what level of cut it was planning, but the cut totaled $2,245,230.

More than $600,000 will be saved by eliminating eight faculty positions and two staff positions. The full-time faculty positions will be filled by part-time faculty.

"Eliminating eight faculty positions will increase our reliance on part-time faculty to meet the academic needs of our students, which is counterproductive," ASU reported to the state. "There is no doubt that the overall quality of instruction at ASU would be enhanced by reducing our dependency on part-time faculty and would lead to higher rates of retention, graduation and overall student satisfaction."

An additional $100,000 will be saved by delaying the filling of other positions.

The university intends to stretch the life of its office supplies and equipment, reducing those costs $250,000 by cutting back on purchases. Minor campus maintenance also will be reduced by $250,000.

The cuts at MCG are not intended to keep students from getting a quality education or the services they need, although some maintenance and custodial services might have to be modified, Mr. Bowes said. And while funds for medical school expansion also are taking a hit, that will not affect plans to enroll students next year at a satellite campus in Athens in conjunction with the University of Georgia, Mr. Bowes said.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.