The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service could be facing a small number of layoffs despite the fact that the service avoided massive cuts that were originally discussed earlier this year.
The Legislature has for the most part wrapped up its work for the year. The good news for the Cooperative Extension Service is that the University of Georgia and Extension have avoided the massive cuts originally discussed. The bad news is that they still have a 12.4% FY 11 reduction, the amount originally proposed by the Governor. Over the last two budget years the service has experienced an approximate 22.1% reduction. In real numbers, this equates to a loss of $8.5M and $7.6M for research and instruction, respectively.
J. Scott Angle, Dean of the College of Agriculture stated this week, "Extension and research are all about people. Most of our state support is used for salaries. We cut operating, travel, administration, etc. first, but that did not get us even close to the needed reductions. So, we have managed this cut through a series of incentives to reduce our payroll. This has been done under the authority and guidelines of the university system – our options were always quite limited."
Angle said that despite the reductions, a small number of layoffs may still be required and that the system may have to sell off some of it’s property that is currently used for research. Angle said that the public will not be happy with the reduction in services from the Cooperative Extension Service.