Georgetown College cuts staff

Several staff positions at Georgetown College have been cut because philanthropic donations are declining, college officials said Friday.

Six full-time employees and one part-time employee were let go earlier this week at the 2,000-student liberal arts college. Three other full-timers are being moved to part-time status.

In addition, four full-time and two part-time positions that have been vacant for some time will not be filled, said Jim Allison, associate vice president for institutional advancement.

The school has about 350 employees, Allison said.

The cuts “were across the board — in academics, administration, athletics and all our different departments,” he said, adding that no faculty jobs were cut.

One of the full-time jobs being cut is that of an administrative support employee, whose duties include assisting former Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins, an executive scholar-in-residence at the college.

Collins' own duties at the college are expected to change, and her pay will no longer come out of the college's operating budget, said Frankfort lawyer Guthrie True, chairman of the college's board of trustees.

Collins has been in talks with Georgetown's administration about her role at the school, True and Allison said.

Collins has been involved in fund-raising efforts and has been instrumental in developing the school's commerce, language and culture program, which helps students prepare to do business in a global society, Allison said.

“Governor Collins has certainly been a vital asset to Georgetown College, and that will continue,” he said. “We do expect that she'll take on some responsibilities beyond what she has been doing.”

Allison said a decline in donations forced Georgetown officials to closely review its operating budget.

“It's been an exhaustive review,” he said. “The situation simply is that, like a lot of businesses and non-profit organizations, this economic downturn has had an impact on us.”

The review has caused Georgetown College officials to try to reduce the amount of gift dollars used to help pay for the college's operating expenses. Instead of seeking about $4 million in the school's annual fund-raising effort to help support its operating budget, Georgetown is seeking about $2.1 million in unrestricted gift dollars this year.

The shift “empowers” donors who want to specify where their money goes, Georgetown officials said.

“We had an extremely high number of gifts going into our (operating) budget,” True said.

Overall, he said the college remains financially stable.

“We're not in the hole. We can't be in the hole. We have to make our books balance,” he said. “It's a hard environment out there right now.”

The school's enrollment remains on track, with about 400 new students expected this fall, Allison said.