Photo: Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images
The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park has announced layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts affecting 75% of staff.
Founded in 1853, the Academy is one of the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 46 million specimens including the beloved albino alligator Claude.
The announcement from Executive Director Dr. Scott Sampson detailed the dire outlook for popular San Francisco institution that has been closed to the public since March 12 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
As of June 13, 75% of the institution’s 504 employees will be affected by the cut-backs. One hundred and five employees will be laid off, 96 employees will be furloughed, 165 employees will receive salary reductions, and 11 employees will receive a temporary reduction in work hours. Only one quarter of staff will not be affected.
An equity-based approach to progressive pay reductions will mean that staff earning higher salaries will see the biggest pay reductions, and no pay cuts will occur for staff earning less than $75,ooo, Sampson said.
The museum projects a $12 million loss for the upcoming fiscal year despite receiving $8.1 million in relief funding through the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
Sampson said in a statement, “As the oldest U.S. scientific institution west of the Mississippi, the Academy has a truly remarkable, distinguished history dating back more than 167 years. Along this lengthy journey, we have survived earthquakes, fires, world wars, and pandemics. Ultimately, as with every previous challenge, we will successfully emerge from this crisis and grow to be even stronger and more impactful.”
The Academy is tentatively planning on a July reopening and hopes that all furloughed staff will return with their full salary within three to four months.
“To all of you departing the Academy, please know that you are in no way to blame.” Sampson added.
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Andrew Chamings is a digital editor at SFGATE. Email: Andrew.Chamings@sfgate.com | Twitter: @AndrewChamings