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New College offers Richard Corcoran a $699,000 salary

House Speaker Richard Corcoran says he draws the line at borrowing money for a massive reservoir South of Lake Okeechobee. Senate President Joe Negron says bonding must be part of the plan.
Florida House of Representatives
The former Republican House Speaker and State Education Commissioner could also receive a bonus of up to 15% of his annual salary for achieving goals he establishes for the school.

Richard Corcoran will earn $699,000 annually, a salary that sparked harsh criticism during public comment, which was moved until after the New College Board of Trustees had already approved his hiring.

New College has approximately 700 students, which means Corcoran is earning about $1,000 per student in base salary.

The contract states Corcoran — a Republican who also served as speaker of the Florida House — will hold the job until Sept. 1, 2024 or until a permanent president is chosen.

He replaces former president Patricia Okker, who wasfiredearlier this month at a meeting of the now majority conservative board of trustees.

She was making $305,000 a year plus compensation for housing and transportation.

Corcoran will receive $84,000 a year in a housing allowance and $12,000 a year for an automobile allowance.

Corcoran's hiring as interim president comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed six conservative members to the New College board in January in an effort to overhaul the small liberal arts college in Sarasota.

Debra Jenks, a lawyer from Palm Beach and one of the new DeSantis appointees to the board, called Corcoran “the leader that we need.”

The majority of public comment, which was limited to one minute per speaker, was overwhelmingly against Corcoran's hiring. Several called the interim's president's salary "exorbitant."

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Cathy Carter is the education reporter for WUSF 89.7 and StateImpact Florida.