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Goddard College Will Cut Staff Pay; Deficit Is $550,000

Plainfield, Vt. — Goddard College plans to cut pay for faculty and staff to make up for a $550,000 deficit. The cuts are planned to last one year, Chief Financial Officer Faith Brown said.

The school will impose tiered cuts to faculty and staff based the amount they are paid, Brown said.

The cuts will not affect employees earning $30,000 or less, said Goddard President Barbara Vacarr. The school also will suspend matching contributions for retirement and reduce some employee hours.

The deficit is in the school’s $12 million to $13 million operating budget, Brown said.

Like other schools, Goddard is dealing with declining enrollment in a sluggish economy, she told the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. Since the school is 96 percent dependent on tuition and has a tiny endowment, it must seek other revenue sources, she said.

The school also is making up for previous changes, Vacarr said.

When Goddard closed its residential program in 2002 and focused on having students on campus for days rather than months and to do most of their work from home, that “put a tourniquet on the problem,” she said. Enrollment improved but there was no plan for the future, she said.

Now the school is trying to make corrections to stay financially viable, she said.

Raising tuition or laying off employees to make up the shortfall were not options Vacarr said she would consider.

The school already had increased the tuition by 4 percent and she said she didn’t want to transfer any costs to students, she said.

“Our commitment is to keep tuition accessible and within the range of public (college) tuition,” she said.