I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have taken the time to fill out the forms and sign up for at least one of the voluntary leave programs that we asked you to consider last week.
As you know, we are trying to absorb a $53-$55 million reduction in BOE’s budget. Thirteen million was an initial 5% reduction imposed and $40 million is the recent estimated reduction based on the equivalent of a three day furlough. There are other unallocated reductions in the State budget and we do not yet know what our share of those reductions might be. We are taking steps to cut everywhere we can. As you know, students, retired annuitants and permanent intermittent employees are all being let go by the end of this month. We are making reductions in travel, non-essential contracts are being terminated or significantly reduced, and only that training that is mandatory will occur. We will all feel these reductions as we continue in our day to day work.
We also realize that the State’s budget situation will not recover overnight and that we will probably face continuing budget reductions. The Board Members have unanimously opposed furloughs of our employees and continue in that opposition. So, we need to make up the budget shortfall in other ways, including employee participation in a voluntary leave program. Wednesday, August 19, is the cut off for getting your forms in to personnel so that the pay reductions can take effect for the August pay period. With 100% participation in a 5% voluntary reduction the savings would be around $13 million. These savings would go a long way in helping BOE with its budget obligations. To date, 382 BOE employees have stepped up to take the lead in helping meet the budget need. I know it is a difficult and very personal decision, and that each individual must consider their own financial situation before signing up for one of the available programs. I appreciate your consideration of these leave programs. For more information on how you can participate, please go to eBOE at http://eboe/eboe3/admin/VolLeave.cfm.
We are doing everything possible to make reductions so that employees will not be personally impacted any more than necessary. But because the State’s fiscal challenges will not be corrected any time soon, and because the reductions will likely continue into the foreseeable future, it is likely to be necessary for the BOE to issue SROA notices to possibly hundreds of BOE employees following Board discussion on the subject at the August 31 meeting. The SROA process includes sending letters to the affected employees noting a potential layoff in 120 days following the notification. The layoff will occur only if necessary spending reductions are not otherwise achieved, and pending DPA approval. Because of the time needed to begin the layoffs if they are necessary, notices will likely be sent in October.
I appreciate your cooperation in these tough fiscal times.