(Courtesy Georgia Perimeter College)
ATLANTA -- Nearly 300 Georgia Perimeter College employees received pink slips on Monday.
"I deeply regret that 215 full-time GPC employees and 67 part-time GPC employees are being informed today that their employment with the college will be ending," GPC Interim President Rob Watts announced in a staff email.
The college is faced with a $16 million budget shortfall and strapped with a $9 million loan to repay.
Watts wrote, "we must reduce our personnel costs, representing more than 90% of the college's expenditures, in order to bring the college's budget into balance."
In addition to staff cuts, Watts said the school will cut programs, enact a hiring freeze and increase class sizes. The changes will affect all five of the school's campuses.
"Our goal is for these staff reductions to have the smallest possible effect on students," he wrote in the staff letter. "No tenured or tenure-track faculty members are part of these staff reductions."
Last May, a school audit revealed the $16 million budget gap. Soon after, then-president Anthony Tricoli stepped down from his position. A school spokesperson says he is on administrative leave until his contract ends June 30th.
According to the school, the state attorney general's office is investigating the budget shortfall. A spokesperson with Attorney General Sam Olens' office said their policy does not allow them to confirm or deny an existing investigation.
On May 25th, Watts sent another staff-wide email to announce the budget deficit and warn that cuts would be coming. In that email, he said furlough days would be a "last action" in the event of seriously low fall enrollment.
Georgia Perimeter offers classes in Alpharetta, Clarkston, Covington, Decatur and Dunwoody with offices in Tucker. The school is the third largest public college in the state and has seen a steady enrollment increase until spring 2012. The most recent number show enrollment at 25,616 students.
By Monday afternoon, news of the cuts had reached students on the Dunwoody campus.
"I am a little worried," said biology major Stephanie Moore. "I don't think any of the good professors, like the ones who love teaching here, are threatened, but I worry that they're overworked."
She added that her algebra class is already "packed."
Watts said employees who are not let go are eligible for outplacement training, computer access and, where applicable, referrals to other opportunities within the University System of Georgia.