A budget passed in a hurry has left the Faculty Association as well as other members of the college with questions and ready for answers.The budget was passed on Sept. 16, a month before it was due. There is some confusion over the speedy passage of the budget and the Faculty Association feels that it was a rushed decision.
“The Board of Trustees should never have passed a budget that they had only looked at for apparently two or three days,” said Roger Marheine, president of the Faculty Association. “It seems to me that the board paid complete lip service to this idea that we’re concerned about the students, and to her discredit [Trustee] Beth Wells Miller moves and then it’s a unanimous move and boom boom boom it’s all done. “
The FA attributes the rushed passing of the budget to a generational rift between the board and the student body.
“I think the rushed passing of the budget represents a lack of respect for the faculty, classifieds [staff], and students,” said Jane Hallinger, English professor. “I don’t think any of them understand the ethnic and the language changes in our classes. They went to college 30 or 40 years ago. They’re taking away support from students who need it.”
Meanwhile, Van Pelt explained why the budget was passed on Sept. 16, not on it’s final day Oct. 7.
“With one quarter of the year gone, we have spent a great deal of money already, with no ability at all to view anyone’s budget for funding levels,” Van Pelt said. “That poses a significant control problem in our spending as we have no ‘measuring stick’ to compare spending against.”
A big topic of confusion is how many sections are really being cut from the winter intersession as this has yet to be stated.
“I heard that it was 457 sections cut,” said Marheine. “And eight percent cuts overall. That’s a lot of sections.”
Marheine attended the meeting at which the Board of Trustees voted on the budget as well as the Academic Senate meeting earlier in the week that Van Pelt had addressed them on the budget. Marheine took meticulous notes.
“The plan is to offer 316 sections in the winter. Last year’s number was 598,” said Van Pelt. That means 282 sections are to be cut for the winter session all the while increasing “efficiency.”
An increase in “efficiency” means that the college will be increasing the amount of students in every classroom, according to the budget.
“The board calls this increasing efficiency, we call it exploitation,” said Marheine.
Van Pelt presented numbers regarding the cost of each section stating that “the direct costs per section will very likely fall between the $5,000 and $10,000 number.” He also said that “using oversimplified math, which would mean that each section costs a direct $10,000.