524 Take TBR Buyouts, Mostly Secretaries

A buyout program for Tennessee Board of Regents employees has cut the total payroll of the college system by 4%. TBR officials say, unexpectedly, a majority taking buyouts are secretaries, not professors.

Of the 524 employees taking voluntary buyouts, only a quarter of them hold higher-paying faculty positions – a total of 132. The buyouts varied between campuses, but they primarily targeted faculty, staff and clerical positions equally.

TBR vice chancellor Dale Sims says the buyout wasn’t only meant to cut costs. And he says the high interest from support staff could allow universities to redirect their shrinking payroll budgets toward the classroom.

“As long as they can manage without replacing those clerical support, that gives them the opportunity to redeploy those personnel expenditures maybe to retain more faculty.”

Sims says institutions also can use some savings to beef up revenue generating programs as they struggle to cope with declining contributions from the state.

The largest Board of Regents university has yet to begin its buyout program. Middle Tennessee State will begin accepting applications November 30th. The university expects to see nearly $5 million in savings.

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