Amid Huge State Budget Cuts, University of Alaska Will Furlough 2,500 Employees

Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Friday erased $130 million in state support for the public university system on top of a $5 million cut approved by the Legislature for the fiscal year that started Monday.
by | July 2, 2019 AT 7:24 AM
University of Alaska sign.
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By Tegan Hanlon

The University of Alaska is issuing furlough notices to about 2,500 employees in the wake of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's huge cut to its state funding, according to a UA spokeswoman.

Dunleavy on Friday erased $130 million in state support for the public university system on top of a $5 million cut approved by the Legislature for the fiscal year that started Monday. In total, that's a 41% reduction in state funding from last year, a cut UA President Jim Johnsen called devastating and unprecedented.

The furlough notices will go out Monday to full-time and part-time staff, said Monique Musick, UA communications and marketing manager. Musick is one of those expected to receive a 60-day notice of furlough -- or temporary, unpaid leave. Staff will have to take 10 days unpaid leave, she said.

In fall 2018, UA employed 2,530 staff and 673 temporary staff. In addition, it had 170 leadership jobs, 1,187 faculty , 950 adjunct faculty and 1,637 temporary student employees, according to a document from the university system.

In response to the governor's veto, Johnsen said Friday that UA would also immediately implement freezes on hiring, travel and new contracts.

He is calling on the Legislature to reverse the governor's funding cut.

To override the veto, the Legislature needs 45 of its 60 members to agree, which some lawmakers have said is unlikely.

Legislators could also choose to add funding in a supplemental budget bill or in the state capital budget.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

(c)2019 the Alaska Dispatch News (Anchorage, Alaska)