ELKO — Great Basin College is offering longtime employees voluntary buyouts as a cost-saving measure that may help avoid layoffs that are on the table in the face of an additional 14.5 percent cut in state spending.
Under the terms of the buyouts, employees would receive payment for no more than nine months and health insurance benefits for nine months depending on the effective date of the buyout agreement.
The college is Nevada’s final higher education institution to offer the buyouts to meet the state budget cuts. It could potentially see savings if longtime employees are replaced with less experienced, lower paid staff.
"We postponed this action hoping revenues would improve and the financial situation of the state would recover sufficiently to avoid this drastic move," said interim GBC President Carl Diekhans in a letter to employees. "Unfortunately, state revenues continue to decline."
Diekhans told the Elko Daily Free Press on Tuesday that it was not yet determined how many buyouts will be offered, but they will not be extended to individuals if they would not result in a savings to the college.
Requests must be submitted to the college’s human resources department by Sept. 15 and will be considered on the basis of whether an employee may be replaced at a lower cost and if it is in the best interest of the college, among other conditions.
In his letter to employees, Diekhans said the college will "continue to do everything in our power to buffer our students from the impact of these cuts, but clearly, there will be many necessary changes in our services to students."
"We don’t like doing this. This is not a good thing," Diekhans said. "We are going to lose a lot of good people."