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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Amid budget shortfall, new St. Petersburg College president to make less than predecessor

Dr. Tonjua Williams, St. Petersburg College's incoming president


Dr. Tonjua Williams, St. Petersburg College's incoming president



ST. PETERSBURG — As a $6.2 million budget shortfall looms for St. Petersburg College, its new leader will make about $30,000 less than outgoing president William Law Jr.

When lifelong employee Tonjua Williams takes the reins in July, if she accepts the contract SPC trustees have approved for her, she will make $300,000 in base pay with a deferred compensation package of $55,000. She will also get 30 days paid leave per year, and SPC will provide a car for her to use.

The board's decision about Williams' contract comes in the wake of nine staff layoffs, part of the college’s response to a tight budget year fueled by declining enrollment. Law wrote a memo to SPC faculty and staff last week explaining the cuts.

He thanked SPC staffers for working with him “to tighten your belts” and cut expenses in the last nine months. The college reduced its operating budget by $1.8 million, froze some positions and eliminated vacant ones. Still, Law wrote, the layoffs were necessary. 

“It is not easy to deliver this news and I do so with a laden heart,” Law said. “However, I believe it is the right thing to do for the institution and the students we serve. I wish things could be otherwise.”

The college employs about 3,300 staffers. The cuts make up less than half a percent of its workforce. No faculty members were laid off.

Going forward, SPC has a three-phase plan to deal with its budget shortfall, administrator Brian Miles said at a board meeting Tuesday. The college will increase the revenue it gets from the SPC Foundation, then redouble its recruiting efforts in an effort to stem some of the enrollment losses. It will also review its structure, software, consulting and technology purchases, and will lease more facilities.

Lastly, the college will recruit more international students and decrease base pay for future faculty members.

Williams, SPC's first black and first female president, has five days to review her contract and respond to the board. Law, who led for seven years, made $330,000 with an $85,000 deferred compensation package.


[Last modified: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 7:22pm]


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