SF State News {University Communications}

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August furlough dates announced

Note: the following e-mail was sent to faculty and staff Aug. 3


Dear Faculty and Staff:

First, let me thank you for the patience, and the genuine concern for students and one another, that you have exhibited these past few weeks as California and the California State University have wrestled with an unprecedented budget crisis. I know the news that we have been sharing in regular updates from the Chancellor's Office has been grim, and that none of the solutions for closing the CSU's General Fund budget gap--now at $571 million--is ideal. This is a devastating reduction in state support for higher education, and it calls for unprecedented and painful responses. These include closing the system to new admissions for the spring 2010 term, planning for further campus enrollment reductions of 2,500 students over the next several years, a student fee increase and workforce reduction strategies such as furloughs and cuts in operational budgets. It will be a challenging year for all of us as we work together to maintain access and quality.


I write today to give you an update on the SF State furlough plan. As you know, the 24-day furlough plan begins August 1 for the following: Management Personnel Plan (MPP), Confidential Employees, California State University Employees Union (CSUEU), Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD), Academic Professionals of California (APC), employees in excluded classes and 12-month faculty represented by the California Faculty Association (CFA). Academic-year faculty represented by CFA will observe 18 furlough days.


UAW-Academic Student Employees, Head Start and University Police are exempt from furloughs, as are positions 100 percent directly funded by grants. The Service Employees Trades Council (SETC) bargaining unit has elected not to negotiate furloughs. If you have any questions about whether your position is subject to furlough, please see your immediate supervisor.


Each campus has been allowed to develop the furlough plan that best meets the needs of its students and employees, within bargaining unit and legal parameters and with Chancellor's Office approval. SF State's plan is being developed with the following goals in mind: to minimize the impact on the academic calendar, to allow both employees and supervisors to plan effectively, and to give some degree of flexibility to employees.


The full furlough plan is still under review by the Chancellor’s Office. The plan schedules furlough days adjacent to planned holidays, weekends or such closures as spring break, to create clusters. We believe this best avoids further inconvenience and confusion for our students, helps both employees and supervisors to plan in advance and may lead to additional savings in such areas as energy and utilities. My thanks to the Academic Senate for adjusting the spring break on the academic calendar in order to make this plan work.


While the Chancellor’s Office reviews the full plan, we have received approval for campus closures on August 14 and 17, constituting two furlough days. Academic year faculty will need to work with their departments to schedule one furlough day between August 24 and 31.


Furloughs differ from salary reductions and pay cuts in that they are temporary and do not affect employment status, health benefit eligibility or pay rate for retirement benefits. Furloughs do not affect the accrual of vacation or personal holiday. All non-faculty employees on furlough are considered nonexempt during the week of their furlough, and must follow nonexempt employee procedures and guidelines. Refer to the Human Resources Web site at http://www.sfsu.edu/~hrwww/ for important details.


At this Web site you will find a detailed Q&A about furlough procedures along with resources for managing the personal challenges that the furlough presents, including resources for counseling and stress reduction, for maximizing your take-home pay and for dealing with change. A schedule of question and answer sessions for both supervisors and staff will be posted here, as well. Questions not addressed by your supervisor, the Web site or the information sessions may be sent to hrinfo@sfsu.edu. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of all of these resources--furloughs are an unprecedented action for our University and will require adjustments for each of us.


This will be a challenging time, but this is a campus that has pulled together to conquer enormous challenges in the past. We have a legacy of cooperation, respect and commitment to students to draw upon as we adjust our work schedules consistent with the level of support that is provided to us.


Unfortunately, the furloughs and student fee increases do not solve the CSU system's budget problems. The system remains $155 million short of what is needed to offer full services and a full schedule. The Chancellor has instructed each campus to develop a plan to handle its portion of that gap. At SF State, that results in an additional $11.9 million we must cut from expenses. Vice presidents and deans have been preparing for this possibility throughout the summer and have contingency plans in place. Services across campus will be affected by these cuts and most noticeably we will see a reduction in the number of course sections we can offer to our students.


I will repeat to you what I said to students when announcing the fee increase: I hope these compromises and sacrifices will be in place for only one year, and that California will both rebound economically and once again live up to the promise that the state has made to its residents: to provide high-quality public higher education to all who qualify. While there is no doubt that the number of classes and students admitted will diminish this year, the University shall continue to ensure the quality and value of the SF State educational experience.


--Robert A. Corrigan, president

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