FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - For the first time, since he announced his resignation, Fort Valley State University's president, is speaking out.
In September, the university announced its plan to layoff employees and cut the school budget in order to avoid a potential $5.2 million budget shortfall. Just months after, amid the brewing budget struggle, Dr. Larry Rivers announced he would be stepping down.
On Monday, the university's leader broke his silence, talking with 41NBC about the recent layoffs, budget cuts, furloughs and the budget shortfall.
"Things are tight," Rivers said, "but we have not gone into a deficit, we've had to furlough in some cases, we've had to lay off people, but at the end of the day, we've balanced out books."
Rivers explained that the university system has been dealing with these cuts for a while now. During his seven years of service, he's seen a 35% reduction in the budget. In light of the economy and sequestration, he doesn't see it getting better anytime soon.
"I had to deal with it, and my replacement will more than likely have to deal with it as well," Rivers said.
The FVSU alum's decision to resign has to do with a change in career, not necessarily the school's current state. Rivers now wants to return to his first love, the classroom. He is currently looking to teach history at Valdosta State University.
"So that I can first and foremost teach students, do my research and work in the community," Rivers said.
But before he leaves, his beloved Fort Valley, Rivers says, he has some unfinished business. He's been working to obtain a land grant to bring several new programs to the school including a Doctorate in Veterinarian Health Medicine Program and Allied Health Programs.
His last day as leader of the university will be June 30. Rivers said a committee is working to find his replacement.