If UGA cuts more, jobs will go

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ATHENS, Ga. -- More than 100 University of Georgia workers could lose their jobs if Gov. Sonny Perdue orders another round of budget cuts, according to documents the university released Friday.

Those UGA jobs are safe if cuts don't go beyond the 5 percent Mr. Perdue has already ordered for the fiscal year that began July 1. But if state revenue collections continue to sag and Mr. Perdue orders another round of spending reductions, UGA may lay off dozens of workers, according to the documents prepared by UGA budget planners for University System of Georgia administrators.

University workers also may have to take three more unpaid days off after Jan. 1, in addition to the three furlough days Mr. Perdue has ordered for state workers between now and the end of 2009.

UGA administrators also would cut library hours, put off up to $1.5 million in building maintenance and eliminate up to 900 course sections. And if the state orders deeper cuts, some students may not be able to graduate on time.

"The loss of faculty positions necessitated by these budget reductions will result in courses being taught less frequently including core courses and courses not being offered at all. These actions will result in less student advising, larger class sizes, reduced academic rigor and will delay student graduations by as much as 2 semesters," UGA officials wrote in a summary of how the cuts would impact UGA.

Plans call for UGA to lay off 136 workers if the state cuts funding 6 percent and 93 more for a total of 229 if Mr. Perdue and legislative leaders cut state allocations by 8 percent, according to the documents.

"Layoffs continue to be a possibility, not a certainty," UGA President Michael Adams said in an e-mail to university faculty and staff Friday.

He Adams sent the message as UGA released the budget documents in response to an Athens Banner-Herald request under state open records law.

University System of Georgia administrators ordered UGA and 34 other Georgia public colleges to prepare the documents before next week's Board of Regents meeting. The Regents are expected to vote to shrink college budgets when the board meets Tuesday and Wednesday.

The plans outline what UGA administrators will do if the state cuts appropriations by 4 percent, 6 percent or 8 percent.

If the state cuts allocations by 8 percent, UGA actually would eliminate 205 faculty slots and 418 other jobs, according to the UGA planners. But UGA administrators would cut most of those jobs by not filling vacant positions instead of laying off existing workers.

UGA gets 36 percent of its $1.4 billion annual budget from the state. Tuition and fees, as well as research grants and contracts, account for most of the rest.


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