Georgia colleges could furlough employees, chancellor says

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ATLANTA -- College and university professors could be furloughed, jobs ended and tuition raised, University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll Davis said Monday, but he said details would be worked out in coming months.

During two-and-a-half hours of testimony before the Higher Education Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, Davis retreated from comments he had made in January to a joint House-Senate committee when he said he philosophically opposed furloughs. Monday, he said his preference was to make permanent cuts rather than cutting work days because the discipline required to make cuts would force the system to rid waste and inefficiency.

One in four of the University System's employees are professors with contracts whose combined salaries are greater than the payroll for the rest of the workers. For furloughs to have a significant impact, they would have to include professors and mean declaring a financial emergency to be able to get around professors' contracts.

Davis said breaking contracts could make recruiting professors harder in the future.

"It is not an easy tool for us to use," Davis said. "I should have expressed that it is not a tool of first choice."

Subcommittee Chairman Bob Smith, R-Watkinsville, said more legislators had complained to him about the lack of furloughs than any other higher-education concern, especially when other state workers are being sent home one or two days per month. Many lawmakers had suggested Davis' original comments suggested arrogance and an unwillingness to sacrifice like other agencies.

Davis said 62 people have been laid off, and he would expect more once each institution president is told the campus budget in the spring that must be met.

Additionally, about 800 administrative positions are vacant throughout the 35 colleges and universities in the system, and 500 teaching posts are being filled by part-time instructors at a time when the system has increased demand of 277,000 more credit hours this year.

Smith asked if the higher demand was due to advertising intended to generate students to pay tuition and secure faculty jobs.

"Are we advertising people to come to school just to get a head count, just to get people to come to school?" he asked.

No, Davis said, "We don't welcome them just because they generate credit hours. We welcome them because we want to educate them."

Tuition increases are likely, Davis said. His staff is evaluating several scenarios to present to the Board of Regents.

While some presidents, such as Michael Adams of the University of Georgia, had recommended tuition hikes because Georgia's has traditionally been lower than other southern states, Davis said that never struck him as a good enough reason. Tuition at Georgia schools has been heavily subsidized by taxpayers, but with a tight state budget, tuition will have to rise to replace the declining subsidy, he said.

"I don't see any way that tuition will not go up," he said.

The House has already passed the mid-year adjustment for the state's current budget. The subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee began Monday looking at what will go into the spending plan for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 03/03/09 - 06:14 am
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The price of tuition is so

The price of tuition is so high now it is preventing a lot of people from going to college. Yes Sir, Raise that tuition and you'll have fewer students, which translates to fewer dollars. If I were you I'd streamline the degree process so that a person can get a 4 year degree in 4 years and not 6. Cut the fat from the top!

Talkatoast
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Talkatoast 03/03/09 - 08:45 am
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Jesus Christ! A college

Jesus Christ! A college education is really the only way to make it anymore, unless you join the [filtered word] army. This is just setting America up for failure, yet again.

tomcampbell
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tomcampbell 03/03/09 - 08:54 am
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Talkatoast owes an apology to

Talkatoast owes an apology to all the men and women who have
served in the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present. If I had not
served in the Army, I would not have had the chance for a college
education. I find language like that despicable in a public forum.

142
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Dan White 03/03/09 - 09:25 am
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Don't worry about rising

Don't worry about rising tuition. Obama is going to make a college education free at our expense. That's what he said!

themaninthemirror
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themaninthemirror 03/03/09 - 11:01 am
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Why don't we start at the top

Why don't we start at the top of the education system to trim the fat. The University System Chancellor and the University President's are paid such outrageous salaries and given such extravagant perquisites, that the cost of a "four year degree" looks like chump change in comparison. Why do they always want to take logs out of the little man's cabin, while they will not even consider cutting down the thermostat in their tax payer subsidized mansions?

Lobosolo
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Lobosolo 03/03/09 - 11:02 am
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No, greenjacket, that's not

No, greenjacket, that's not what he said. If the Republican-led government would quit using up Hope money to fund their incessant tax breaks for big business, we wouldn't be facing this problem in Georgia. The state party has shown everyone that, as on the national level, the Republicans don't know squat about governance. It's time for you to back off, move over, and apologize to everyone for your continued support of such a failed ideology. Everyone but the rich and connected are suffering greatly, and those who do want to better themselves through higher education have to pay the price of the malfeasance of such short-minded folks as the repubs in the statehouse.

themaninthemirror
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themaninthemirror 03/03/09 - 11:26 am
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In response Loboloso: You can

In response Loboloso: You can not blame the Republicans for the Hope scholarship mess. There are way too many prorgrams that are funded by taxpayer money to help the underprivileged get an education if they want one. The problem with the Hope scholarship starts at the high school level. To take advantage of the Hope Scholarship one has to have a B average graduating from high school. Some of these B averages are manufactured at the high school level. What you wind up with is students who are not really motivated to achieve a four year degree, they just go to college because it is being paid for by others. Sooner or later these students are not able to maintain a B average and lose their Hope scholarship funding. And in most cases they drop out of school. This is where the waste and inefficiency in the Hope scholarship program comes in. And one other thing, the Hope Scholarship is funded by the Georgia Lottery, not the taxpayer. So, those who should be upset about the HOPE Scholarship program are those that play the lottery.

Lobosolo
5
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Lobosolo 03/03/09 - 12:35 pm
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There are many who were left

There are many who were left out of Hope funding last year because, in their own words, "We ran out of money". The repub statehouse has been looting that fund since they took over to pay for their pet projects and tax cuts to the undeserving. When a Hope recipient loses their scholarship because of grades, they are off the roster and free up other hopefuls ( or not, when they've "run out of money"). The books need to be opened up as far as Hope is concerned, and legislation should be passed prohibiting the miscreants in the statehouse and governor's mansion from getting their paws on it.

Bizarro
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Bizarro 03/03/09 - 02:45 pm
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I agree with the

I agree with the maninthemirror. The education system is already pitiful in the South and all the millionaire regeants are going to cut professor salaries or furlough them. Dang don't hire a recent college grad-likely they will be uneducated morons. I can't believe this is even a viable alternative. Why would any Ph.D. with half a brain come to Georgia to teach or research in this system. The school system will suffer producing worse students than presently.

noway
201
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noway 03/03/09 - 02:52 pm
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ColdBeer, you should do some

ColdBeer, you should do some comparisons. Georgia's tuition is a LOT lower than most other states. And if kids were ready for college, (i.e. didn't have such horrible schools prior to college), it wouldn't take them six years to finish school. Also, if kids would focus on paying for school instead of paying for their cellphones, ipods, designer clothes and bags, cars, etc., they may be able to go to school. Kids these days don't want to make the sacrifices necessary to get a college education.

HotFoot
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HotFoot 03/03/09 - 04:27 pm
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noway, that's NOT why it

noway, that's NOT why it takes some kids six years. First, many are working and taking the minimum load, and second, it is difficult at the big universities to get all the core requirements in four years. Classes fill, the course closes, and a student who thought she'd be graduating in four years is stuck taking an extra semester or year to finish. I agree with much of the rest of your post...college students today take an enormous amount for granted and expect to have all the things you listed. That's wrong. But it's not because of poor preparation that they take 5-6 years to graduate.

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 03/03/09 - 06:27 pm
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And yet we continue to plow

And yet we continue to plow millions into Athens, the school only Sonny wanted. The 6 year bit also relates to continued erosion of tenured faculty. When the faculty are tenured, you can make them offer courses because failure to teach is one of the things that voids tenure, something no one will risk. At colleges like ASU, there are so many part-timers who periodically flake off or move on, consistency in education is difficult to achieve. I would like to know what percentage the faculty salaries are of the total payroll. They act like it being a majority should be a surprise. How much of a majority? I would think it a vast majority since ultimately, what else is needed but students, a building and a faculty? Def ditto on iPods, cell phones, crackberries, etc etc.

corgimom
38280
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corgimom 03/03/09 - 06:44 pm
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"since ultimately, what else

"since ultimately, what else is needed but students, a building and a faculty?" Utilities. Computers. Books. Supplies. Office equipment. Postage. Payroll taxes. Financial Aid officers. Office staff. Security staff. Insurance. Groundskeeping. Personnel office. Building maintenance. Grounds maintenance. Continuing professional education. Administrative staff. Food services. Library purchases. Desks. Cleaning supplies. I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. A university, even as small as ASU, is comparable to a small city.

Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 03/03/09 - 06:55 pm
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"A building" encompasses most

"A building" encompasses most of things you listed. The rest of the things (like Food services) are nice but not needed. A lot of college administrators seem to get confused as to what is essential vs. what would be nice to have. The statement stands. You have those three things and you have a University. Everything else is window dresssing.

corgimom
38280
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corgimom 03/03/09 - 07:23 pm
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Nice but not needed? Do you

Nice but not needed? Do you get a lunch break every day? Or do you think that college employees and students should work all day without eating or drinking? Do you do that? ASU is located in a residential area. There aren't any eating establishments within walking distance. And the rest of the things are more than "nice", they are essential. What else do you consider "nice but not needed"?

Fools_and_sages
360
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Fools_and_sages 03/03/09 - 07:33 pm
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College enrollment skyrockets
Unpublished

College enrollment skyrockets during bad economic times. You can't get rid of faculty when the student body is growing and still keep class sizes small. Many GA students are not prepared for college. They need small class sizes so they can get one on one attention from professors, or they will fail out.

The University System could save as much money by going to a 4 day week and closing all campuses on Fridays or Mondays. A 4 day week could cut utilities expenses about 40% on small campuses if weekend activities were eliminated as wel.

On small campuses, grounds keeping isn't needed from December through April since the grass is dead and there are no leaves left to collect. Weekly trash patrol would be enough. Dining services are not essential either at commuter schools.

How about no new office equipment or computers for a couple years and redirect some of that money to maintain what's there instead of replacing it outright? They could also hold off on new buildings on all campuses and MCG expansion as well.

Lots of things can be done. Layoffs are the small-minded solution. But GA cares little about education in the first place. What can you do?

Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 03/03/09 - 07:35 pm
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I do get a lunch break every

I do get a lunch break every day. I go out on my own and eat or bring my lunch like a grown up. I attended a commuter college when I started and we had no food services either. I drove down the road to eat at Hardees. When I lived on campus, I went back to the dorm to grab some grub. When I was in graduate school, I lived a mile away from school. Guess what? I walked and was thin. I think you need to look up the word "essential". You don't seem to know what it means.

gardengirl27
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gardengirl27 03/03/09 - 07:40 pm
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Several university presidents

Several university presidents received salary raises last year ranging between $50,000 to $100,000! And I mean raises of that amount. How about retracting those raises now that the economy is in such dire straits? If declaring a state of emergency can enable the state to break the contracts of professors (union protected contracts, in many cases) without fear of litigation, then such a declaration should also allow for the withdrawal of those raises.

corgimom
38280
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corgimom 03/03/09 - 07:43 pm
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Oh, I most certainly do know

Oh, I most certainly do know what essential means. And I bet that when you went to college, you made full use of the facilities on your campus. You talk about "you drove down the road to Hardees"- many students and employees don't own cars-and "when I lived on campus"- which doesn't apply to ASU- and "I lived a mile away from school" when ASU is a regional school and most people travel several miles, from several counties, to get there. Your experience is not typical of most students and employees of Georgia State Universities. Have you ever been to ASU?

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 03/03/09 - 07:44 pm
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Agreement on the layoffs in

Agreement on the layoffs in general. Abrogating tenure to break contracts would be the death knell for the GA Education system. Anyone with skill and reputation would haul it ASAP to a state not as deeply in the hole and re-tool. I also object to furlough's in general as it is basically a tax increase on state employees. If you can't afford something, get rid of it. Cheap will just get you cheap. Finally, I agree we as a people/nation/state don't value education. We de-value it in the most fundamental manner - we won't pay for it. A 10% tax increase would erase all these problems. I make ~$150K. A 10% tax increase would raise me about $58/month. At $150K, I can pay it. Look at your own paycheck. How much would a 10% increase cost you. Is your kids education worth it?

Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 03/03/09 - 07:46 pm
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Actually gardengirl, you can

Actually gardengirl, you can cut salaries without abrogating contracts or tenure. And to anyone else interested, you can educate yourself on GA faculty salaries at opengeorgia,gov.

Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 03/03/09 - 07:49 pm
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As a matter of fact, corg, I

As a matter of fact, corg, I do know where ASU is. I teach there from time to time. It appears that not knowing definitions is the least of your problems. You don't think straight. If someone is driving from "several counties" having a car to go to Subway is not a problem for them. If they don't, one assumes they walk to school or take a bus. They can pack a lunch. Are we so intellectually beat down in this town that we can't solve such an obvious "problem"? A food service is not a necessity to education.

corgimom
38280
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corgimom 03/03/09 - 11:19 pm
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I know the difference between

I know the difference between many and most. And I think you do too. So if you taught there, did the personnel office hire you, or did you hire yourself? Did you get a 1099 or a W-2? Who processed your paychecks, or did you work for free? You never drank or ate anything from a vending machine there? You never made a copy there? A secretary never did any clerical services for you? What do you consider "nice" versus essential? If you would've gotten hurt on campus, would you say "insurance is not essential, I'll pay my own bill?" Did you expect clean facilities? With appropriate heating and ventilation? Because if you've taught there from time to time- more than subbing or CE classes or one night class at a time- then it's really hard for me to believe that you don't consider any of those things necessities, because you would've used MOST of those services in one form or another. And there was a time when Augusta College was in terrible shape and nearly lost its accreditation because it was so lacking in basic services for faculty and students. A professer sued the Board of Regents and won because the buildings were so unsafe and were such terrible health hazards.

corgimom
38280
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corgimom 03/03/09 - 11:40 pm
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Oh, and I guess I should add

Oh, and I guess I should add that I worked there too- as a graduate assistant in the School of Business, while getting my MBA. Who knows, we may have met.

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 03/04/09 - 08:39 am
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I did it for free. Put that

I did it for free. Put that in your business model. Vending machines are not tax payer funded. They are outsourced to local companies. The Faculty running the course did all the work on the syllabi, as faculty invariably do. But you continue to miss the point (and make mine). Buildings need to be safe but don't need expensive fountains with the water running all the time. They need far less administration that most have. At MCG, last count we had an admin to faculty ratio of 1-5 (including office staff up to the sr admins). It's excessive. Is it nice to have modern buildings with pretty foundations? Absolutely. I am willing to have my taxes raised to provide such things? Absolutely (within reason). Is it a requirement to get an education? Absolutely not.

corgimom
38280
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corgimom 03/04/09 - 12:30 pm
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Modern buildings with pretty

Modern buildings with pretty foundations? You are totally ignorant of what happened at ASU. The former buildings were unsafe fire traps (against the law, BTW) that were not handicapped accessible (also against the law, BTW.) The buildings were contaminated with PCB's- the report is in Reece Library, by the way. The roofs and ceilings contained asbestos that shed into the false ceilings and off the roofs every time it rained. It was a carcinogenic health hazard for every single person- staff, faculty, students, visitors- that entered the buildings. Maintenance people had to wear haz mats suits to work on the roofs. It was declared unsafe for mantenance people to do any work between the roof and ceilings because it shed asbestos into the building. People were getting sick because the ventilation was so poor. The lawsuit, filed by Mary F. Mobley, Ph. D, a tenured professor, is what got those modern buildings. This is all public record. You didn't know any of that, did you?

corgimom
38280
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corgimom 03/04/09 - 12:31 pm
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Oh, and maybe you didn't know

Oh, and maybe you didn't know that I was asked to testify in that lawsuit, did you?

corgimom
38280
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corgimom 03/04/09 - 04:17 pm
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OK, I get it. You work at MCG

OK, I get it. You work at MCG and think that ASU is just like MCG. They are totally different and they have totally different histories. I guess that you have never had to work or go to school in converted WWII ammunition warehouses built to military wartime codes that NEVER met state or local codes. The reason why the modern buildings were built is that ASU was in danger of being shut down for being a menace to public safety. It wasn't just bad, it was very bad. The plumbing was a public health hazard. The buildings didn't meet sanitation requirements. They didn't meet legal ventilation and heating requirements. The electrical demands that were being placed on the buildings were tragedies waiting to happen. After Mary Mobley won her lawsuit, the Regents knew that there was going to be numerous neglience, liability, and workman's comp lawsuits filed by faculty, staff and students, and the buildings and grounds were a direct result of that. That is why all of it was built. It was either build it or pay out millions in ongoing lawsuits. So when you see the things that you think aren't needed, you can think that while money was poured into MCG in the 1980's and 1990's, ASU suffered

corgimom
38280
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corgimom 03/04/09 - 04:22 pm
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It was also stated in public

It was also stated in public by a certain high-ranking administrator of ASU that "Those buildings never would have been built if it hadn't been for Mary Mobley's lawsuit." It is just another one of Augusta's dirty little secrets. There is way more to this story, but I'm done.

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