Southern Seminary eliminates 35 positions
    January 19 2009 by Art Toalston, Baptist Press

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), in response to the national economic downturn, has reduced its administrative staff by 35 positions: 20 full-time and 15 part-time, effective Jan. 30.

    Each person will receive a severance package, including placement assistance, according to a Jan. 15 news release from the seminary.

    No faculty members were included in the staffing reductions.

    The workforce reduction, combined with budget cuts made in December, are to close a projected $3.2 shortfall in the seminary's $30 million budget, the news release stated, and will "place the seminary in a stronger financial position for 2009."

    Tuition for the 2009-10 academic year will increase by just under 10 percent according to current projections, SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. wrote in a letter e-mailed to the Louisville, Ky., seminary community. The increase, he said, is akin to the tuition increase for the current academic year.

    Work will continue on capital projects that already have been contracted and funded, but no new projects will begin until economic conditions improve, according to the news release. On Dec. 18, the seminary announced that it had reduced its budget by $1.7 million, including the halt in various capital projects along with reductions in travel expenses.

    "The national economic downturn has resulted in reductions in Southern Seminary's primary revenue sources, a situation common to higher education at this time," the Jan. 14 news release stated.

    SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr., in a letter to the seminary community, said of support from Southern Baptists' Cooperative Program:

    "There is good news to report in that we have experienced good support from our churches channeled through the Cooperative Program. We are certainly watching the Cooperative Program income as directed through the state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention into Southern Seminary's budget. We can never presume upon the performance of the Cooperative Program in troubled times, but I am confident that our churches will do everything possible to maintain their own stewardship and investment in this important work and mission."

    As of Dec. 31, the SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget, the year-to-date total of $47.3 million was just 91.9 percent of the $51.4 million budgeted to support Southern Baptist ministries.

    To date, the North American Mission Board, another of the SBC's six seminaries and Woman's Missionary Union also have announced budget cuts.

    Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, announced Dec. 16 that it will be cutting its budget by approximately 10 percent, or $3.5 million to $4 million. Among reductions being made to the budget are "temporary suspension of many overseas travel programs and adjustments to campus facilities."

    On Aug. 1, 2008, LifeWay Christian Resources President Thom S. Rainer told employees the ministry was reducing its workforce by 5 percent and cutting expenses throughout the organization.
    1/19/2009 9:12:00 AM by Art Toalston, Baptist Press | with 0 comments
    Filed under: economy, financial hardship, SBTS

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