Governor Ron DeSantis grabbed control of Florida’s only progressive public college—New College—and installed the hard-right former State Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran as its president. The DeSantis-controlled board of trustees voted to award Corcoran nearly $1 million in annual compensation, then struggled to find the money to pay for it. Students and faculty have protested the takeover, but they have been ignored. Corcoran intends to turn New College into the Hillsdale of Florida (Hillsdale being an evangelical Christian college in Michigan beloved by rightwingers).

The Tampa Bay Tribune writes:

New College of Florida has finally found a way to pay Richard Corcoran, who took over as interim president after the school’s board of trustees fired his predecessor in January.

At a Friday meeting of the New College Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the school financially, vice chairperson Dan Stults explained that the school will exploit a loophole in state law that allows them to use mostly public funds to cover Corcoran’s expenses until June 30, when the 2022 fiscal year ends.

For now, that takes the pressure off the foundation to come up with additional funds to cover the president’s salary. The board has not arrived at a plan to cover Corcoran’s nearly $1 million annual compensation package.

Corcoran, a former state education commissioner, receives a base salary of $699,000 — more than double that of his predecessor Patricia Okker and making him the third-highest-paid president among Florida’s public universities, not including bonuses and other stipends.

Under Florida law, only $200,000 of a university president’s salary can come from state funds. The rest typically comes from private donors through the school’s foundation.

However, state law does not restrict how the $200,000 state-funded portion must be allocated throughout the year. That allows New College to use the entire amount to cover most of Corcoran’s compensation until the end of the fiscal year.

Corcoran’s compensation from February through June totals approximately $265,000, Stults said.

That leaves just $65,000 to be covered by the foundation, which will come from a pool of funding that is not already earmarked for certain scholarships or other uses.

When the board of trustees approved Corcoran’s contract in February, board chairperson Debra Jenks said that the foundation has the money to cover Corcoran’s compensation, but did not identify where the additional funds would come from.

Future funding of the foundation has come into question, as many current New College donors have signaled their intention to withhold more than $29 million in future donations after Gov. Ron DeSantis began transforming the school’s leadership, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.

Open the link to read about the donors who are withholding funds, and the effort by other colleges to recruit students from New College.