SOU pay cuts will save $48,000 for school year

ASHLAND — About 42 Southern Oregon University employees, including top officials, have volunteered to take as much as a 4.6 percent pay cut to help chip away at a $2.1 million deficit this school year.

The pay cuts equal about $48,000 in savings for the remainder of the school year, which ends in June, said Craig Morris, SOU vice president of finance and administration.

The cuts occurred across the Oregon University System of which SOU is a part and were chiefly the result of drops in the state income tax revenue.

Among those volunteering to take cuts were Morris and SOU President Mary Cullinan.

Employees were permitted to volunteer up to a 4.6 percent pay cut, or about eight hours a month, though employees could opt for less. Cullinan and Morris took the maximum.

The cap was intended to ensure that the university would still "be able to get the job done of providing outstanding student education services," Morris said.

Employees who took the pay cut will first see the reduction on their March 31 paycheck, Morris said.

Next year the financial outlook isn't any brighter, but SOU's employee unions are set to negotiate a new employment contract, which will provide opportunities for off-setting funding shortages next year.

"Our first way of dealing with this problem will be compensation management: furloughs, benefits cost sharing, pay cuts," Morris said. "Next time it'll be mandatory."

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