Today I want to answer a few of the questions that have been asked since our November 18 announcement of the Extension nutrition restructuring. For more information, please read the frequently asked questions posted on the intranet.
As you know from previous messages, the restructuring of Extension's federally funded nutrition education program for low-income Minnesotans is necessary due to the loss of federal funding. We need to restructure the program to match the funding levels. To do this, we are creating a new regional model for nutrition education with 40 percent fewer nutrition staff.
What investments has Extension made in the nutrition program?
During federal fiscal year 2013, rather than make immediate cuts in the program, Extension covered the loss of over 30 percent of the federal funding for the nutrition program.
In addition, like all Extension programs, Extension annually invests other funds in the program that go toward operations, salaries, professional development and programming. For the nutrition program, that has totaled over $1M annually in non-federal funding from Extension. We will continue to make that investment in the new regional nutrition model.
And, I am committed to continuing to find additional funds for our nutrition programs and to work with our federal partners to restore the federal funding.
What impact has funding the nutrition budget cut had on other Extension programs?
Covering the reduction in federal funding for the last year was a significant and intentional decision. Our goal was to support this program without compromising our other Extension programs.
During the last year, in addition to reducing the operations and staffing budgets in the nutrition program and Center for Family Development, I asked the other associate deans and unit directors to be fiscally conservative with their operations and staff budgets. This means we have held on filling some open or new positions in other centers. I will continue to work with the associate deans to evaluate each request for positions.
What is the timeline that we need to know about?
- The internal search process will be completed December 16.
- Layoff notices will be sent on December 17 to nutrition staff who do not apply or receive a new nutrition position.
- Later in December, information will be sent to staff about what to do with nutrition files and materials in the county offices.
- January 14 is the last day of employment for staff who receive layoff notices.
- In the New Year, the new regional staff will work with local community partners to determine educational programs and delivery models.
Thank you again for your support of our nutrition programs.