36 layoffs loom as southeast Ohio's Hocking College struggles to make up budget deficit

Government And Institutions Associated Press

A college in southeastern Ohio plans to lay off 36 people as officials struggle to make up for a $4.4 million budget deficit.

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Hocking College in Nelsonville has said that the job cuts announced Thursday include administrative, instructional, staff and support positions.

The college approved a revised balanced budget for 2014-15 on Monday, The Athens Messenger (http://bit.ly/1ur7RH6) reported.

"The reorganization is necessary to balance the budget, as personnel costs are the college's largest expenditure," the school's interim president, Betty Young, wrote in a message to the campus community.

The new organizational structure at Hocking will reduce the cost of program management by implementing a dean and department chairman model and eliminating coordinating instructor assignments, the college said in a news release. Three dean positions will be eliminated effective Dec. 31.

"All efforts are being made to minimize the impact of our budget decline on our students, while protecting the areas critical to the mission of Hocking College," Young said. "The revised budget assures we can continue to deliver the quality programming Hocking College is recognized for and positions the college operation to be sustainable to continue outreach to our communities for generations to come."

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A letter of recommendation and a Hocking College tuition and fee waiver for two years will be offered to employees who lose their jobs, Young said.

The college also is reducing payroll costs by requiring mandatory unpaid furlough days for all employees.

Hocking College will be closed from Dec. 22-Jan. 2 with employees on unpaid furlough.

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Information from: The Athens Messenger, http://www.athensmessenger.com/