Newton GPC campus loses 26 employees with cuts

CLARKSTON -- Georgia Perimeter College is reducing its staff by 282 employees, including 26 employees at the Newton campus.

GPC notified the employees Monday, according to Interim President Rob Watts in an email sent to staff early that morning.

He said 215 full-time GPC employees and 67 part-time employees were terminated.

This includes 105 at the Clarkston campus, 57 in Decatur, 43 in Northlake, 36 in Dunwoody, 26 in Newton, 10 in Alpharetta and five for GPC online, according to Beverly James, assistant director of Media Relations at GPC.

By department, it includes 141 in administrative support and plant operations, 92 in the office of Student Affairs, 28 in Academic Affairs and 11 in Institutional Advancement, according to James.

"There may be a larger or smaller number of limited-term and part-time faculty members in the fall, but that will be based on enrollment and the academic needs of the college to provide instruction at its various locations and across its disciplines," Watts wrote in the email.

His first priority "was protecting classroom instruction for students," he wrote.

"The college must now focus on the adjustments necessary to operate at lower staffing levels. It will not be easy. We will all need to be as flexible and patient as possible while we make the adjustments," Watts wrote.

He said no tenured or tenure-track faculty were part of the reductions. The college employs about 3,110 people, including 390 tenure and tenure-track faculty.

"All other areas of the college were affected. Some were affected less, such as public safety, given the need to maintain a safe learning environment on our campuses, and some areas were affected more, such as administrative support," he wrote.

He added that the college also plans to close "a number of internal institutes." He didn't specify yet what programs would be cut.

James said full-time employees who have worked at the college for more than 180 days will be placed on paid administrative leave until Aug. 17.

Additionally, the college is offering outplacement services, including training to be provided by internal staff, the Department of Labor and a local outplacement firm, James said.

The two-year institution is trying to cope with what could be a $25 million deficit next year.

University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby disclosed the shortfall May 7 and announced that the former president would leave. Watts was appointed two days later.

Now, state auditors are analyzing the college's financial records to understand how the school's deficit grew so large.

"Our goal is for these staff reductions to have the smallest possible effect on students," Watts wrote.

The college is the third largest institution of the USG. It serves approximately 27,000 students through four campuses in Clarkston, Decatur, Dunwoody and Newton, as well as several sites in metro Atlanta, including an Alpharetta center and partnerships at the Rockdale Career Academy in Conyers and the Newton College & Career Academy in Covington.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.