State budget cuts are taking a toll on education at all levels.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia recently mandated six furlough days for all university employees to partially make up for the $115 million cut in state funding. Fighting an overall budget cut of $2.53 million, Armstrong Atlantic State University’s main campus and Liberty Center are included.
“Each institution identifies the dates, and I think there are three prior to the end of the year and three after,” said Bill Megathlin, assistant to the president of Armstrong Atlantic State University.
According to a release from the board of regents, the furloughs will affect 40,000 employees across the state, but excludes those who make less than $23,660 annually. The days off add up to about a 3 percent pay cut.
Megathlin said one of the perks to using furloughs as a solution to the budget deficit is that in the university system, it doesn’t cut directly into any class time.
“They asked us to identify reading days when they’re not having classes because the Board of Regents doesn’t want it to have an impact on the class,” Megathlin said. “It’s a statewide issue and we just have to do our best under tough circumstances. Everyone’s stepping up, including Liberty Center, and providing extra effort to continue giving the students the best education possible.”
Although the budget cuts are deep, Megathlin said the furloughs should make up for most of the lost money, and there will not be changes in the number or variety of classes offered at the Liberty Center.
“Overall travel and those kinds of smaller things are tighter, but that’s true of the entire campus,” he said.
This is the first time the University System of Georgia has mandated furloughs.