U of I announces intent to furlough employees
BOISE, Idaho. - The University of Idaho plans to implement furloughs for 2,600 employees during the next four months to save about $1.2 million and help offset shortfalls in state funding for higher education.
University president Duane Nellis on Tuesday announced details of the plan, which dolls out furlough days proportionately to how much employees earn in the current fiscal year.
In a statement, the university said Nellis is exercising expanded powers granted to the presidents of Idaho's four-year institutions under changes to state Board of Education policies that were approved on Feb. 18.
"We are not alone in making the decision to furlough," wrote President Duane Nellis in a letter to statewide employees. "Across the nation, both public and private universities are making similar choices in the face of economic conditions."
The board voted to give university presidents broad power to make cuts in a financial crisis, allowing them to make permanent salary reductions regardless of contracts and temporarily reduce wages through furloughs.
"We recognize that this requires a financial sacrifice of almost every individual employed by the University of Idaho, but we also believe it is required in order to avoid more sweeping measures," Nellis said. He added that the plan will allow the university to bridge to a time when the economy begins to recover and state revenues begin to return to previous levels.
Public universities and colleges are scaling back more than $30 million in current spending to help offset state revenue declines.
In addition, Nellis and other university leaders continue to meet with state leaders "to ensure that our distinctive statewide mission is understood and valued."
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