Oct. 29

Survey illustrates P&S budget opinions

by Erin Rosacker

Professional and Scientific employees favor furloughs to position eliminations or smaller retirement contributions to meet a mid-year budget reversion. The executive committee of the Professional and Scientific Council invited P&S staff to participate in a confidential electronic survey last Thursday and Friday to gauge opinions of budget-cutting methods. The answers -- and an additional 1,203 submitted comments -- were compiled and sent to president Gregory Geoffroy and executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman on Friday.

Regents' list

In response to the eight budget-cutting options outlined by the state Board of Regents, P&S employees agreed or strongly agreed with:

  • Temporary layoffs/furloughs (62.8 percent)
  • A tuition surcharge (58.6)
  • Postponing deferred maintenance and repairs (86.5)
  • Program eliminations (69.6)
  • Selling non-essential assets (62.5)

Respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with:

  • Temporary salary reductions (60.4)
  • Temporary or permanent benefit revisions (63.2)
  • Permanent layoffs (66.6)

Making comparisons

More than 50 percent of employees also agreed or strongly agreed with these statements:

  • I would favor a furlough plan if number of days furloughed were relative to salary, 71.6 percent
  • Mandatory furloughs are preferable to eliminating positions, 75.8 percent
  • I would favor a furlough over a reduction in my retirement contributions by Iowa State, 68.8 percent
  • I would favor a reduction in the employer's portion of my retirement contribution (eg. 10 percent to 8 percent) as a budget reduction tool if such a reduction had a specific end date (eg. 8-12 months), 56.3 percent

Who participated

Nearly 65 percent of ISU's 2,584 P&S employees completed the survey. A summary of the answers is available on the P&S Council web site. P&S Council president Camille Sloan Schroeder will present the results at the Board of Regents' Oct. 29 meeting.