LEE COUNTY, Fla.-The expensive departure of Edison State College's former president is sparking a statewide investigation into spending at Florida colleges. Governor Rick Scott called for the probe. Edison State College welcomes a call from the investigative team and says it will cooperate fully. It paid more than half a million dollars in severance to former president, Dr. Kenneth Walker earlier this year but they say, no student or tax payer money was spent.
"You say gosh, are we spending the money to make sure our kids get a great education or are we spending the money to further the nest of presidents that make a lot of money as it is?" asked Gov. Scott.
A letter this week from Gov. Scott to the state inspector general specifically calls out Edison State College for it's handling of Dr. Walker's $540,000 departure.
"I've asked the inspector general to look into all of our schools and really look and make sure that we understand how we're spending our money," said Gov. Scott.
Walker's contract package totaled more than $800,000 in cash and perks but the college says no taxpayer or student funds were used to fire him.
"It's actually a wonderful opportunity for us to clarify some information in regards to Dr. Walker's settlement. We would like to make it very clear to your viewers that the settlement money presented to Dr. Walker was not a result of any tax payer dollars or student tuition fees. So that money did not come off the backs of our tax payers or our students," said Edison State College Spokesperson Teresa Morgenstern.
The school paid for it by leasing some its broadband width to a private company. Edison State College says it's a new day on campus and the new president makes $275,000 a year.
"It's very clean. It's very straight forward and as you see, there are no extra benefits and things you would see in other contracts. It's very direct," said Morgenstern.
Edison State College wasn't the only school mentioned in the letter. Questionable spending at Florida State College in Jacksonville also sparked the investigation. A $1.2 million severance deal was approved for its president.