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UI president says job cuts coming

Associated Press

MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho President Tim White has warned faculty and staff members that position cuts will be announced by the end of the month, and faculty who keep their jobs should expect heavier workloads.

Though the cuts are “not fair and it is through no fault of your own,” White told a gathering of about 120 staff members this week, they are needed to get the university out of an estimated $13.6 million to $20.7 million in debt.

University health insurance coverage is also expected to change as insurance costs and premiums increase, White said.

“Is next year’s plan going to feel like this year’s plan? No,” he said.

White did not say how many positions were going to be cut. Pat Sturko, interim assistant vice president for human resources, said the school will try to help displaced staff find new employment.

“We understand this is a difficult time for people and we are putting these resources out there,” Sturko said.

White said he is open to suggestions to ease the university’s budget woes, including four-day work weeks during the summer.

“If we can’t think differently about how we approach our work, if we automatically take things off the table because that is how we’ve always done it, then we’re going to really limit ourselves on the ability to move forward,” he said.

The university has been embroiled in a financial crisis worsened by the collapse of its $136 million University Place project in Boise in 2003. The three-building project fell apart amid questions of financial mismanagement, and only one building, the water center, survives. White has said he expects up to $15 million in debt will be paid off over eight years.

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