Friday, February 26, 2010

Georgia Budget Cuts, Revisited

OK, now I'm giving away that I work in a public college in GEORGIA. Yesterday we received a fright-inducing email from our president that our governing body, the Board of Regents, is going to expect us to cut our budget 2.4 million dollars more for FY2011. That may not sound like a lot, but our budget two years ago was only 15 million and now with accumulated cuts will be less than 11 million, despite the fact we have had explosive growth rates.

The email stated that the administration may have to call for financial exigency, which means tenured faculty can get fired. It then stated there would be a meeting today to talk about it; the crowds came out. It seems that firing faculty is going to happen at our college, no matter how vociferously we complain. I do not feel insecure about my own job; I have tenure, am on the SACS committee, teach two necessary disciplines, and don't make that much in the first place! But perhaps up to ten faculty members could be let go, at a time too late for them to look for jobs. This is unethical, especially for Ph.D.s who have left other positions across the country. But it happens. There will be lots of other cuts, some of which are probably reasonable.

The irony, and this is my point, is that the legislature is not going to allow tuition and fee increases. That is bizarre. It is incomprehensible to me. We are saying "we have excellent education but you don't have to pay for it." A credit hour at my college is $84.00; a full load of 14 hours is less than $1400.00. (My son goes to a private college where the tuition is between $8 and 9,000).

The only reason the tuition is not being raised, say, to $2,000 a year, is that the legislators don't want to take the hit on this. So we do. My pay will be reduced by 5% next year because we will be taking ten furlough days; this year we had six. But the legislators want to come out smelling like roses by not raising taxes and tuition/fees, when Georgia has one of the lowest tuition rates in the country. Forty-five states have higher. Check out Sounds fishy to me.

I know things are tough all over. I know more taxes is not always the answer. I know, I know. I only ask that students pay for what they are getting.

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