Trustees Decide Not To Close Felton Laboratory School

Orangeburg, SC (WLTX) - SC State University Trustees have some big decisions to make this week as they plan to pass a balanced budget.

Among the laundry list of budget cuts was a proposal to close Felton Laboratory School and Tuesday trustees already felt some pressure from considering the closure.

The university has already laid off 90 employees to help with their 13 million dollar debt.

"The process has been very strenuous, its been difficult because a lot of those people affected are our friends and neighbors," said President Thomas Elzey.

With less than three weeks to pass a budget the board of trustees was given several options in order to have a balanced budget.

A big one was to close Felton Laboratory School; it's on university property, has about 120 students and costs close to one million dollars to operate.

After long deliberation in executive session the board decided not to close the school.

"It was not our desire to put closing Felton on the table, we were only put in that position because we are required the balance the budget. We think we can balance the budget without doing that."

The university will possibly do away with women's golf and cut $500,000 from the athletic and academic programs.

The board hopes to have 3,500 students enroll in the school and to help some of those students who need minor funding to attend, the board gave Elzey permission to ask the SC State Foundation for one million dollars in scholarships.

"Instead of closing the school we will have a series of furloughs for some of the staff, we will have a series of cuts in our operational budgets in several departments and cut some discretionary funding across the board."

There is a proposal to raise both in-state and out of state tuition but by no more than 5%.

Elzey is confident the decisions they will make will be in the best interest to keep the university above water.

"Our applications are well above where they were last year; our admissions are well above where they were last year so we are optimistic in rebuilding the class."

The board will vote to approve a budget on Friday.


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