Amarillo, TX - Amarillo College is asking 75 employees to retire because there is no longer enough state funding to keep all of them -- a request aiming to save students and taxpayers money.
State legislators have reduced AC's funding by $3.5 million. The college does not want to raise tuition or increase taxes, so it's making some tough internal cuts instead.
"This is a difficult decision to make, but it's one that is necessary," said Lyndy Forrester, the VP of Employment and Organizational Development.
Forrester is tasked with finding a way to balance the budget. With less state funding and fewer students enrolled, staff is the first thing to go. "We looked at our budget this year and looked at our budget realities and realized we were over-staffed," said Forrester. "So we offered this voluntary retirement incentive to around 75 people."
The retirement buyout will give employees $100 for every month they worked at AC. So far, nearly twenty employees have accepted the offer. "Depending on how many people decide to take this retirement buyout, we'll know what our next step in our staffing solution and staffing planning will be," said Forrester. "It's going to force us to operate leaner and really look at our own internal processes and how we can do better and be more effective and efficient."
Forrester said AC will consolidate jobs and cut those that are not seen as critical. That's because AC is anticipating less state funding going forward and wants to be prepared. "The trend has shown we are going to receive less, so we need to right-size right now and not wait until we're in another crisis five years down the road. We've got to be more proactive in looking at our budgetary realities."
Forrester wants to stress AC is not considering a tuition hike or tax increase at this time.