University System Chancellor Steve Wrigley. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

University System of Georgia will not use furloughs to fill budget gap

University System of Georgia employees won’t have to take furlough days as part of a state-ordered budget reduction plan, Chancellor Steve Wrigley said.

State leaders last month told each agency to submit a plan to cut spending by 14% for the fiscal year starting July 1. The budget cuts were necessary, the state officials said, because of revenue declines due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The state’s Board of Regents approved a proposal in early May to furlough employees as part of its budget reduction plan. Most University System of Georgia employees faced having to take four or eight furlough days as part of the furlough plan. 

State House and Senate leaders agreed on a budget plan last week that would require a smaller cut, 10.8%, for the University System. The system’s operating budget in state funds is about $2.3 billion.

Wrigley told the state’s Board of Regents in a meeting Friday the cuts are “still significant, but an important decline from the 14% we looked at.” Wrigley said the changes “eliminate the need to have furloughs and try to and reduce the impact programmatically across the system.”

The University System and its 26 colleges and universities will still need to make serious budget cuts. Some schools have proposed layoffs and not filling vacant positions to fill the remaining budget gap.

The United Campus Workers of Georgia were grateful for the decision concerning furloughs, but it still urged the University System not to lay off any workers. It proposes selling some properties, delaying some projects and taking some low-interest loans to fill the gap.

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