Paine College announces additional cost-cutting



Paine College announced Tuesday additional cost-cutting moves as it seeks to make the college more fiscally sound ahead of a fight to keep its accreditation.

In addition to announcing the elimination of 15 positions reported earlier by The Augusta Chronicle, the college said faculty and staff members making above minimum wage would receive a 10 percent pay cut.

“Layoffs and salary reductions of loyal and dedicated employees are not easy to make,” Paine President Samuel Sullivan said in a statement. “While this is a difficult process, these are necessary and positive steps toward financial stability and sustainability of the college.”
The cuts took place immediately, but staffers were given two weeks’ worth of pay with benefits, the school said in its announcement. Faculty members received a month’s notice with pay and benefits, according to the announcement.

Paine has not responded to a request for additional information on what positions were cut or what its total workforce is now. Other cost-cutting moves were aimed at supplies and equipment purchases and nonessential travel, the statement said.

Paine is fighting to keep its accreditation after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges voted in June to remove the college from its membership because it failed to meet three financial standards after two years on probation. Paine is appealing that move and remains accredited while it appeals.

As of late Monday, a date for that appeal to be heard still had not been set, but SACS regulations say it should be held on one of three days beginning Aug. 15, said Dr. Pamela Cravey, the coordinator of communications and external affairs.

Because it was removed on financial grounds, Paine will be able to present new evidence of improved fiscal health and has seen a number of large donations since it began its fight to stay accredited.

“We are on the path of implementing new measures and practices that will move the College toward fiscal solvency,” Barbara Bouknight, the chairwoman of Paine’s board of trustees, said in the school’s statement. “Taking these and other steps will ensure that the college will not face these financial challenges in the future.”

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