Save the dates! For the first time ever, Spotlight PA’s State College bureau will be participating in Centre Gives! We are seeking readers to help promote our campaign on social media May 10-11. Want to help? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Inside this edition: Penn State estimates cutting 50 full-time jobs this year, State College school board candidate is escorted out of high school by security, and DuBois paid legal fees for accused city manager.|
|Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi told the Faculty Senate last month that there “may be 50 jobs that are in jeopardy this year” as the university attempts to reduce its reported multimillion-dollar budget deficit.|
At the April 25 meeting, Bendapudi said that individuals who lose their jobs will be given priority in hiring for other university positions.
“President Bendapudi has indicated there are limited layoffs anticipated this fiscal year,” the university wrote in an email to Spotlight PA. “It is estimated that less than 50 full-time employees will be impacted from across the University. … As units work to balance their budgets, units are also considering delaying program launches, deferring purchases or improvements, eliminating programs, measuring attrition and unfilled positions, and restructuring, as well as considering new ventures to increase revenues.”
However, Penn State’s layoff projection does not include fixed-term employees whose contracts will not be renewed, the university told Spotlight PA. Penn State said such contracts may not be renewed for reasons “beyond budgetary considerations, including, for example, when outside funding for such positions ends or when enrollment trends and careful analysis show certain programs are no longer viable.”
The university would not specify how much it expects to save by eliminating the roughly 50 full-time positions. Penn State also said it does not have an estimate of the number of research and teaching assistantships that could be cut.
The university’s layoff projection comes amid the university working to balance its budget by 2025, which includes reducing a projected $149 million deficit in the general funds budget, according to Penn State’s fiscal office.
Last year, some university trustees who had approved Penn State’s budgets for years expressed shock at the university’s deficit, as did Bendapudi.
Last summer, the university implemented a “strategic hiring freeze” to help address the shortfall, though exceptions were made for some positions. The administration also cited financial concerns in its decision to scrap the university’s promised Center for Racial Justice.
In March, Justin Schwartz, then-interim executive vice president and provost, directed chancellors, deans, and other university leaders to provide the administration with “your best estimate of the total number of positions from your unit that you predict are necessary to eliminate during this fiscal year,” according to internal communications obtained by Spotlight PA.
University leadership acknowledged in March that cuts to some units would go beyond the previously pledged 4% maximum per fiscal year under the new budget model. Penn State has declined to identify which units might receive greater-than-expected budget cuts. However, the College of Engineering is expected to make deeper cuts, and a university spokesperson told WPSU in March that it would be “impossible to avoid some layoffs” in the college.
The administration has said repeatedly there are no plans for mass layoffs.
The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) requires employers to provide 60 days notice before a plant closing or mass layoff. The law applies when 500 or more people lose their jobs, or when between 50 and 499 people lose employment and the reduction affects at least one-third of the company’s workforce. Whether employers have to report layoffs of fixed-term employees depends on the terms of individual contracts.
Schwartz’s email to department heads in March specifically mentioned the university’s timeline must comply with the WARN Act.
—Wyatt Massey, Penn State Investigative Reporter
|“It’s hard to compare [gaming legislation] to other uses, because there is a pretty unusual legislative regime that exists there. It’s certainly not typical.”|
—Blaine Lucas, a Pittsburgh-based attorney who specializes in zoning law, on how the locations of casinos are decided in Pennsylvania
Daniel Fishel / For Spotlight PA
|Spring green on a back road in Tioga County — captured by Linda Stager.|
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» May 4-23: Organizations across central Pa. host events for Remake Learning Days, which give “all youth the opportunity to experience the future of learning.”
» May 5-6: Enjoy music, food, and carnival attractions at the 55th Potter-Tioga Maple Festival in Coudersport.
» May 6: Shop for your garden at the Central Pa. Native Plant Festival at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center in State College.
» May 6: Garden Treasures Gathering Festival in Karthaus features local produced arts, crafts, food, and plants
» May 9: Peggy Ann Bradnick Jackson, who was kidnapped in 1966 in Huntingdon County, speaks at a barbecue dinner fundraiser for the county's historical society.
|An anagram is a word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another. For example, “spotlight” also forms “stoplight.”|
Decode the anagram and send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA State College swag.
R I N G
Last week’s answer: Leader
Congrats to Kevin M., who will receive Spotlight PA State College swag. Others who answered correctly: Linda A., Martina M., Beowulf, Jon W., Donna D., Canary, Jeffrey F., Thomas S., and Tish M.
|Do you have events, community shoutouts, questions about our region, or tips on stories that we should pursue? Email our team.|