More bud­get chal­lenges ahead for GPC

The Covington News - - Front page - AM­BER PITTMAN apittman@cov­

On the heels of $25 mil­lion in cuts, Ge­or­gia Perime­ter Col­lege, al­ready strug­gling to re­gain fi­nan­cial foot­ing, will again have to cut — this time $1.6 mil­lion, or 3 per­cent of their bud­get.

Ac­cord­ing to Bev­erly James, GPC’s as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of me­dia re­la­tions, the cuts are re­quired to come from all state agen­cies per Ge­or­gia Gov. Nathan Deal. She said it was un­clear what ex­actly will be cut to make up that 3 per­cent.

Ear­lier this sum­mer, GPC was forced to cut 282 em­ploy­ees — 26 from the New­ton County cam­pus — fol­low­ing the ini­tial cuts re­quired.

How­ever, in ad­di­tion to a cut in state fund­ing, the school could see less in tu­ition fees as well. The Board of Re­gents in­sti­tuted a new re­quire­ment for learn­ing sup­port students, cre­at­ing a cut­off score for read­ing and math. Those students who fall be­low a score of 78 in read­ing, a 60 in English and/or a 40 in math must take learn­ing sup­port classes at a tech­ni­cal col­lege be­fore at­tend­ing the col­lege.

This could mean many students will face re­jec­tion from GPC if they need too much as­sis­tance in those ar­eas. Less students, of course, means less tu­ition money for the school, and with tu­ition and fees mak­ing up much of the school’s rev­enue, this could af­fect the bud­get even more dras­ti­cally.

In an ef­fort to save money, the school elected not to add the word “state” to their name, a name change that was ap­proved in May of this year. James said the de­ci­sion to keep the school as GPC is strictly fi­nan­cial.

“GPC doesn’t have the money to change the name of the col­lege on all sig­nage and build­ings, let­ter­head, busi­ness cards, etc.” she said in an email. “The Board of Re­gents met last week and de­cided to re­scind an ear­lier ap­proval to add the word ‘state’ to the col­lege’s name.”

In spite of the dire pre­dic­tions, GPC cam­puses continue to op­er­ate as usual, with many students start­ing classes next week.

While it is still un­clear how the col­lege got into such poor fi­nan­cial shape, an au­dit is sched­uled to be re­leased later this month which may shed some light onto that is­sue.

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