Paine College is cutting 15 positions as the college tightens its belt ahead of a fight to keep its accreditation.
Board of Trustees Chair-Elect Michael Thurmond confirmed Monday that the college had cut faculty and staff as well as some vacant positions as it seeks to get its financial house in order to “live within our means.”
While acknowledging that it is “painful” for those involved, it is an unfortunately necessary move, he said.
“Obviously there’s concern for employees and families who have been impacted by this latest round of layoffs,” Thurmond said. “However, our primary mission has to be to get our fiscal house in order. This is all about cost-containment and ensuring we continue to operate with a balanced budget and rebuild the financial stability of the college. The board took a very conservative approach to budgeting and finance this year in terms of our projections, in terms of revenue. And we are going to live within our means. That’s the new reality we are operating under.
That could change in the next few weeks if student enrollment comes in higher than the “very conservative” estimate the board is using to project its finances, he said.
“Depending on our enrollment, we may be able to rehire people,” Thurmond said.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges voted in June to remove Paine from its membership for failing to meet three financial standards after two years on probation but Paine is appealing that decision and might have a hearing this month on that appeal. Because it was removed solely for financial reasons, the college is allowed to present new evidence of financial integrity.
“We hope that this will be additional evidence that we are taking our fiduciary responsibility seriously,” Thurmond said.
Paine President Samuel Sullivan “and the administration have done I think an outstanding job of managing our resources and doing it in a way that will not negatively impact our ability to provide a quality education” he said. “It’s tough but this is where we are right now. As painful as this is, it’s a major step forward in securing the financial stability of the college.”