Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - There's not a lot of cash to spare in education budgets these days.
KGUN9 On Your Side wants to know why has Pima Community College agreed to pay someone 600 thousand dollars who may not work for the college ever again?
Here's a college math problem.
A college's chief administrator makes 280 thousand dollars a year. Then he stops working. What does he make after that?
If you said zero, you failed this one. The right answer is 600 thousand dollars over roughly a year and a half.
Doctor Roy Flores led led PCC as Chancellor for about nine years. Now he's too ill to continue. PCC provost Doctor Suzanne Miles will take over as interim Chancellor for about 280 thousand a year, while Doctor Flores collects about 600 thousand through June of next year. If he's able to work at all it will be as a consultant, not a full time employee.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked PCC Board Chairman Scott Stewart, "What do you say to folks who basically wonder about the value of paying someone and it's not clear what services he can really offer in return right now?
Stewart says, "Well, "A", we're under a contractual obligation so we're going to be paying that money anyway."
Stewart says Flores has advanced skills that mean he can still be a big help to the college, and he says the cost is less than it could have been.
Flores contract called for about a million dollars through June of 2014. Re-negotiations knocked the cost down by 400 thousand---and calls for Flores to leave a year sooner.
Smith asked Stewart; "Was there a time when the board had an opportunity to accept his resignation and not incur this kind of obligation. Scott Stewart: What Chancellor Flores did was not offer his resignation. He wanted the board to act on his retirement. When we chose not to act on a replacement Chancellor in February, we needed more options. So we did not act on his retirement request at that time."
That gave Flores a chance to change his mind, retract his retirement, and enforce his contract.
600 Thousand for a former Chancellor does not sit well with cash strapped students like Martin Macias.
He says, "It's not about service. It's about a contract. That's what it's become."
PCC student David Kalligher says, "Tuition's always going up and it's cause of wasteful spending. I think this is one of these types of situations where wasteful spending's going on."
An association of community colleges says it's better to bring in fresh personalities from outside to serve as interim chancellor while you choose a permanent replacement.
The PCC chairman says the board chose someone already on board because the college is such a large operation with so many students spread across so many campuses they can't afford to have a break in leadership.
Some contracts have language that lets an employer break the contract if someone's unable to work.
The PCC Board Chairman says that is something they may consider for the contract for the schools new permanent Chancellor.