Keene State Staff Take Buyouts

The Keene Sentinel
Friday, February 09, 2018

About 50 Keene State College employees will accept voluntary buyouts as part of the college’s efforts to cut an estimated $5.5 million from the fiscal year 2019 budget.

Melinda Treadwell, Keene State’s interim president, said in an interview this morning that buyouts were offered to 43 staff and nine faculty. The number could change slightly, she said, as not all have signed and returned the agreements yet.

“The purpose of the buyouts was to give us a force reduction, because we’re too big for our enrollment size,” she said.

The precise amount the college will save through the buyouts hasn’t yet been calculated. But Treadwell said she is confident that the measure, along with other cuts and enrollment revenue, will provide for a balanced budget in fiscal year 2019.

The college employs 214 faculty, 340 staff, 128 adjunct staff and 176 adjunct faculty, Kelly Ricaurte, a spokeswoman for the college, said in January.

The college has not yet released the names of the employees who have accepted buyouts, because they are awaiting permission from them to do so, Treadwell said.

Staff will leave today, though the college may retain some of those employees longer if their functions are deemed essential, she said.

Faculty will leave after the end of the school year.

Anyone asking for a buyout was offered one — out of fairness, Treadwell said. For positions the college decides to keep, she added, administrators will first try to hire from within.

“We’re looking first at allowing people to move, move up, move over,” she said. “ ... In instances where we don’t have the talent, we’ll need to search and bring someone in for next year.”

“I am grateful that the separations have happened (through) choices by employees and that for many it’s opened new professional and personal opportunities,” Kim Schmidl-Gagne, president of the Keene State Staff Association, a staff union, said in an email.

“It’s sad to have friends and colleagues leaving the Keene State community and they will be greatly missed.”

The personnel cuts are one of several steps administrators are taking to reconcile spending with the reality of a lower student population. Enrollment has declined 29 percent over the past five years, according to Treadwell.