Idaho State braces for layoffs, furloughs

POCATELLO — Idaho State University will implement layoffs and mandatory furloughs, in an effort to shave $4.2 million from a projected $16 million shortfall.

In a YouTube video posted Friday, ISU President Kevin Satterlee walked faculty and staff through a series of cuts aimed at eliminating the shortfall over the next two years.

ISU President Kevin Satterlee

“I understand this information is heavy, and there’s no way around that,” Satterlee said.

Years of waning enrollment, recent state budget cuts and plummeting revenues augmented by the coronavirus pandemic have put ISU on track for the shortfall. Mandatory furloughs of $2 million in 2020-21 will help chip away at the deficit, Satterlee said.

Satterlee outlined several other steps to erase the shortfall by June 2022:

  • Layoffs, which would save $2.2 million.
  • Eliminating vacant positions, to save $4.5 million.
  • Cutting $3.6 million in operating expenses.
  • University-wide spending reductions. College and division budgets, including the Division of Health Sciences, will be cut by an average of 4.8 percent next year. Remaining divisions — including athletics, research and Museum of Natural History — will be cut by an average of 6 percent.
  • Cutting $900,000 in temporary and irregular salary pools, including those for adjunct salaries.
  • Collecting $1.3 million from one-time and ongoing strategic investments, including from a $650,000 statewide marketing campaign and by devoting more than $1 million to “areas mostly designed to improve student recruitment and retention, fulfill urgent workforce needs and … have an impact on increasing revenue through student enrollment.”
  • Anticipation of $480,000 in revenue growth from prior expansion of some “high-demand programs.”

The $6.7 million in job cuts — through layoffs and attrition — will affect non-classified staff the most. Idaho State will cut $3.3 million from non-classified staff and $1.1 million for classified staff, Satterlee said. Faculty reductions add up to $2.3 million, or 3.3 percent from this year.

Some impacted employees have already been notified, Satterlee said. Others will be.

New revenues and savings from other areas are projected to eliminate the $16 million deficit over the next two years — assuming enrollment stays flat, Satterlee said. “If enrollments change, our financial outlook changes with those enrollments.”

Satterlee also discussed possible changes to classroom scheduling and class enrollment caps heading into the fall.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

Reporter Devin Bodkin covers education issues in East Idaho. He is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. Devin co-hosts "Beyond the Books" online news segments in conjunction with EastIdahoNews.com. He is a 2019 Solutions Journalism Network fellow. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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