Layoffs, furlough to shore up St. Aug's finances
Posted May 29, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Saint Augustine's University plans to lay off a dozen employees and furlough its remaining staff for a week in July to cut costs, officials said Thursday.
“These types of decisions are never easy," Interim President Everett Ward said in a statement. "Although we have identified other areas to improve our financial efficiency without compromising the needs of our students, the personnel decisions were necessary as these expenses represent the largest part of the university’s annual budget. This was a difficult decision but essential for the long-term financial health of Saint Augustine’s University."
In addition to the layoffs, 31 of the university' 337 employees are being shifted from a 12-month schedule to a 10-month schedule, losing pay for June and July, officials said.
Those still working during the summer months will be furloughed July 7-12, aside from "essential personnel," such as campus police and student health workers. Some departments, such as admissions, financial aid and business and finance, will stagger their furloughs to ensure continued service.
Eleven summer school courses also were dropped.
The changes are expected to save Saint Augustine's more than $1 million, Ward said, adding that Saint Augustine's has a $1.6 million budget shortfall.
The university eliminated more than a dozen positions earlier this year and planned to furlough faculty and staff during spring break before backing off the idea.
Other cuts could be coming in the fall if enrollment doesn't rebound, Ward said. Administrators want 250 students in the freshman class and has only 198 commitments so far.
The school's problems run deeper than its finances.
It is under investigation for allegedly providing false information on a federal grant proposal. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits the university, has also requested information regarding the school’s finances.
Trustees ousted former President Diane Boardley Suber in April.