Say goodbye to employee furloughs that preserved jobs but muddied schedules and frustrated students at California State University campuses.
The program -- which may be the first in CSU history -- ended June 30, saving about $270 million and several thousand jobs, system officials said. But the mandated 24 unpaid days off for most workers also created headaches that few want to repeat.
"I didn't know a single student who liked this idea," said Steve Dixon, the outgoing president of the California State Student Association and recent graduate of Humboldt State.
In Turlock, California State University, Stanislaus, avoided the confusion that plagued some campuses that allowed staff to choose which days they wouldn't work.
"On this campus we had a set calendar so everyone knew months in advance when certain offices wouldn't be open," university spokeswoman Eve Hightower said. "But there was also some flexibility, so classes weren't canceled on furlough days."
Last year, most CSU employees agreed to take two unpaid days off each month -- a roughly 10 percent pay cut -- to help manage a $560 million shortfall. The move came on top of other cost-cutting measures and student fee hikes.
Other state and local government agencies, including the courts system and the city of Mo- desto, implemented furloughs.
State workers have taken 46 unpaid days since February 2009. Gov. Schwarzenegger warned last month that furloughs could continue this year as the state tries to close a $19 billion budget deficit.
But there's little appetite to extend furloughs at CSU. Officials say cost-cutting measures and enrollment reductions have pared the bottom line, but they're also relying on several state budget proposals that would provide more money -- about $365 million -- for the system in 2010-11.
Claudia Keith, a spokeswoman for the 23-campus CSU system based in Long Beach, said furloughs created operational headaches for employees and logistical problems for students.
Even Chancellor Charles Reed, in a speech in March, said he hated furloughs and the problems they created.
Most students and employees "are probably glad they're ending," Keith said.
Still, furloughs did what they were intended to do.
"They were effective," Hightower said. "The point was to save money and effectively save the university money, which saved jobs and services. But they weren't easy on fac- ulty and staff because the work doesn't go away."