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FDTC president addresses $1.6 million college has to pay back, says it may cut positions

Florence Darlington Technical College (FDTC) President Dr. Ben P. Dillard told more than 100 members of his staff Friday morning that the college will repay $1.6 million to the U.S. Department of Education following a review of FDTC's Title IV programs involving federal student aid. (Tonya Brown/WPDE)

Florence Darlington Technical College (FDTC) President Dr. Ben P. Dillard told more than 100 members of his staff Friday morning that the college will repay $1.6 million to the U.S. Department of Education following a review of FDTC's Title IV programs involving federal student aid.

Dillard said the issues that caused the problem have been corrected and they have new leadership in the financial office.

He added the college will repay the money in three years.

Dillard also talked about possibly cutting some part-time positions at the college to help save money.

That drew harsh criticism from staff and faculty members.

One employee said her office at the college depends highly on part-time workers.

She said some of the part-time employees are the bread winners for their families and losing their jobs would be devastating.

Another employee questioned why not consider eliminating some full-time administrative positions to help save money because they make up a larger part of the budget.

They complained that staff in administrative positions continue to get raises when other employees never get a raise and are barely making ends meet.

Terry Dingle, FDTC Vice President of Internal Relations, said they haven't considered eliminating any full-time positions at this time.

Dingle said they're mulling cutting some part-time jobs because of the college's $40 million budget, $27 million is tied to personnel.

He added FDTC has some tough decisions to make regarding its financial situation in order to save money.

Dillard said nothing is done deal just yet and they're trying to find other ways to possibly avoid cutting part-time positions.

Another concern from faculty and staff members is morale.

One staff member said it's at an all time low and the reputation of the college isn't where it used to be in the community.

He said FDTC is so focused on enrollment numbers that it's missing the mark because some students can't even comprehend or understand the curriculum.

Related: Study finds FDTC has $179 million impact on Pee Dee region

One staff member did praise and administrators saying the decisions they are making for the college will help FDTC get back on track.

Meanwhile, the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is conducting an inquiry into allegations of misappropriations of funds at FDTC.

SLED Communications Director Thom Berry released the following statement on the inquiry:

Right now we are conducting a preliminary inquiry. That means we are looking at the allegations and determining whether any criminal laws could have been violated. It's the first step we take as there are times when we are asked to conduct an investigation and find that no criminal law has been broken, perhaps only an administrative policy violated.

FDTC officials aren't commenting on the SLED inquiry at this time.

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