Western Illinois University to lay off 110 employees

Jack Thomas
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 13, 2016 4:50 pm Updated: Apr. 13, 2016 6:25 pm

MACOMB, Ill. -- Western Illinois University will lay off 110 noninstructional staff because of the state budget impasse, now in its tenth month.

University President Jack Thomas made the announcement in a letter to the university released Wednesday afternoon. Employees facing layoffs will receive a 30-day notice within the next week.

"Despite the ongoing furlough/voluntary pay reduction program and the drastic reductions to spending, these layoffs are necessary to protect the university's cash resources," Thomas said. "In spite of our best efforts to conserve financial resources, without an appropriation from our state government, the university will face even greater financial challenges."

WIU said in February that it planned to cut $20 million from its budget over the next two years and lay off about 100 employees.

"The decisions we are being forced to make are incredibly difficult, and they are being made due to the lack of state support," Thomas said. "We recognize that as the stewards of this university, our first responsibility is to take the necessary steps to ensure that we continue providing a great education to our students."

If the state budget for the current fiscal year is passed, he added, the university might call back some employees, but if the impasse continues, additional layoffs and the extension of the furlough and pay reduction program will be necessary.

Thomas said 500 employees are participating in the mandatory furlough or pay reduction program, which generated more than $1.5 million in savings.

"However, we must continue to reduce our FY16 expenses," he said. "We will fall short of our $4 million saving goal for fiscal year 2016, as we have been unable to achieve furlough agreements with all of our employees."

Even though the outcome of the budget impasse is uncertain, Thomas said the university will remain open and continue to serve students.