Wednesday, March 3, 2010

VSU loses jobs, programs in proposed budget cuts

PROPOSED CUTS FOR VSU

VSU has seen a 26 percent loss of its state-appropriated funds in the last two years, said Dr. Patrick Schloss, VSU’s president.

If the $300 million reduction came to pass, the additional cuts would bring the total reduction to 46 percent, he said.

Conversely, the university is seeing a steady increase in student enrollment, Schloss said.

“We love every one of them, and we need the resources from the state to meet that challenge and to provide the highest quality of education that we can provide,” Schloss said. “Overall, I believe that the state must view the value of higher education as a farmer might view seed corn. It is costly to plant the crop, but the crop is profitable and becomes the primary asset out of the field.”

To meet the reduction, VSU would be forced to eliminate 11 academic programs (several of which were proposed for the upcoming budgetary year), 22 positions, programs at Kings Bay Naval Station and Moody Air Force Base,

the women’s golf team budgeted for FY 2011,

the university honors college budgeted for FY 2011, among other cuts.

VSU would also be forced to reduce library hours.
Eliminating the 11 academic programs would cut $2 million, while closing Kings Bay and Moody AFB programs would save $1 million.

The plan, Schloss said, is imperfect because of the limited time.
“It didn’t really give us a chance to fully explore each of the options,” Schloss said. “The impact at Valdosta is severe but tempered by very thoughtful planning that has occurred in the last year and a half.”
Through the proposed reductions, the University of Georgia, for example, could have to cut more than 1,400 positions.

VSU has only listed 22 positions as losses due to the proposed cuts, Schloss said.
“Personnel reductions at Valdosta are very modest by any standard,” he added.\

That said, all 22 positions that would be cut are currently staffedCutting programs and services to the state’s young people could drive them outside of the state to seek a higher education, he said, which would have negative economic impact on the state in the decade to come.

An educated workforce within the state is a direct result of the institutions within the state, Schloss said.

Valdosta State and the other colleges and universities have been working on the proposed reductions since last Thursday.

The proposed cuts at VSU would also eliminate the vice president for student affairs and director of finance and budget positions, in addition to reducing leadership and coordination of student-life activities at a cost of $310,900.
Schloss hopes that the legislature considers other options in its effort to balance the budget.

“Our hope is they will see the wisdom in looking to other options that simply don’t handicap the futures of our most precious asset,” Schloss said.
He encourages friends of the university, alumni, students, faculty, staff and others to contact those that make the decisions concerning this issue and express the need for higher education.

That said, Schloss said he knows that the local legislative representatives are fully supportive of the university’s mission.
Schloss believes the General Assembly may consider changes to tuition in regards to balancing the budget in the coming months.

Heads are gonna roll is this year's elections. To avois all of this, all the legislature has to do is modestly increase Taxes. No one like Tax Inccreases, but I rather have that than to gut our systems of higher learning.

Things are a mess right now.

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