Fort Valley State announces layoffs

wcrenshaw@macon.comOctober 10, 2012 

Fort Valley State University’s cost-cutting measures will mean about 100 mostly temporary and part-time employees will lose their jobs.

After getting approval of its plan from the Board of Regents last week, the university notified the impacted employees Friday, said FVSU Vice President Canter Brown.

Most of those affected are part-time professors, and that exact number is uncertain because there are accreditation questions surrounding the elimination of some of those positions, Brown said. Because the part-time professor positions are under contract, the cuts won’t become effective until the spring semester starts.

However, for 28 non-faculty positions, the layoffs are immediate. Under Board of Regents policy, the school will pay those employees for 90 days even though they won’t be working, Brown said.

He said the administration tried as much as possible to reduce the impact on employees, but personnel accounts for most of the school’s costs.

“If you are going to cut, you have to look where the expense is,” he said.

The immediate layoffs impact only employees still under a six-month probationary period or working on a temporary basis.

The cuts are being made to address a $3.8 million budget shortfall resulting from a 5 percent pullback in state funding and a 10 percent decline in enrollment.

The plan approved by the Board of Regents specifically addresses a 3 percent cut already ordered by the state. However, Brown said the school has been notified another 2 percent cut is coming, and the layoffs also account for that. More cuts could come in the spring, he said, if enrollment doesn’t improve.

Cuts are also being achieved through the elimination of some vacant positions. Also, the school’s Academic Success Center is being abolished, and its student-advisory role will return to the faculty.

According to an analysis by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, college enrollment is down throughout the state, and four other schools have seen a double-digit decline.

Brown said the drop in FVSU’s enrollment is due in part to an order from the state to reduce the number of students in need of remedial help before taking regular college courses. Due to the school’s history of educating economically disadvantaged students, Brown said the state recently gave it more leeway on that policy, which may improve enrollment in the spring semester.

“These are capable students, but they just haven’t had the same advantages of more affluent students,” he said.

He said the drop in enrollment can also be attributed to reductions in student aid and the HOPE Scholarship.

Brown said FVSU had 3,800 students enrolled at the start of the current semester, but 300 of those dropped out because of financial reasons.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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