Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Community College Weighs Buyout Offers to More Than 500 Employees

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Community College Weighs Buyout Offers to More Than 500 Employees

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * Deep state budget cuts have prompted St. Louis Community College to craft a plan offering buyouts to more than 500 employees.

The plan, which must still be voted on next week, comes as the school is rolling out numerous changes across the four campuses.

The college's board recently voted to put its downtown building up for sale, approve an architect for a new building on the Forest Park campus, and raise tuition 3 percent, or $3 per credit hour.

College chancellor Jeff Pittman hopes the changes will give leaders leeway to better fund high-demand programs and the individual campuses.

Pittman said most of the moves were because of changes in state appropriations. Earlier this year, Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, announced a $3.58 million cut to St. Louis Community College for the current fiscal year, and another cut in his budget proposal for the coming year, which is still under consideration by the Legislature.

Next week, the college's governing board will consider and potentially approve details of a voluntary buyout program for which 529 employees are eligible.

Pittman said the program was for full-time employees who were 55 or older and had put in at least five years of service at the school, or those people of any age who had put in 20 or more consecutive years there.

There is no target number of employees or dollar value administrators are looking for through the program, according to Pittman.

It's not a factor of enrollment, according to Pittman, who said preliminary numbers indicated the school could see another boost in students this fall.

The downtown sale is designed to both bring leaders closer to students and free up money for instruction.

The Cosand Community College Center, 300 South Broadway, sits just across from Busch Stadium and houses many of the school's administrative functions, such as human resources, information technology, financial aid and leaders including Pittman. He expects these offices to move to the Forest Park campus whenever the trustees approve a buyer.

The offers have already started coming in since the board gave approval to exploring the sale of the Cosand building, which the college acquired for $7 million in 1980. …

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