Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Higher education cut in governor's budget

Governor recommends $146 million cut to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system
Gov. Tim Pawlenty presented his budget yesterday with key principles in mind; balance the budget, fund priorities in order of importance, strategically position Minnesota for success in a changing world, enhance and expand pay for performance, and do not increase burdens by raising taxes.

For higher education, the total reduction is $312.7 million, a 10 percent decrease over the total higher education base budget. The Governor is recommending a reduction to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities of $146 million, a 10.7 percent reduction. The University of Minnesota was reduced $151 million. The Governor also recommends both the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the University of Minnesota institute firm caps on tuition increases to ensure the rising costs do not harm students.

Of the $4.8 billion budget deficit, the governor's budget includes $2.5 billion in cuts and savings. The governor included a $920 million placeholder in federal stimulus dollars and nearly $1 billion in tobacco appropriation bonds. Under the Governor's proposal, K-12 education would see an increase with a focus on Q-Comp and other pay-for-performance initiatives. There are accounting shifts in the aid payments to schools that will temporarily save the state nearly $1.3 billion.

In response to the Governor's budget released yesterday, DFL leaders said at a press conference that they believe it's critical to have public input on the governor's budget, which is why they are going to bring people together around the state. The consensus of DFL leaders was that more detail is needed on the overall budget, especially the $1 billion tobacco endowment. Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said they are in constant contact with the federal Minnesota delegation in Washington to learn more about what is available for Minnesota in the federal economic stimulus package. Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, said the governor's budget is the blueprint document for how they're going to balance the budget, and DFL leadership will first look for areas of agreement.

You may find further details here.

K-12 committee discusses college readiness
The House K-12 Education Policy and Oversight Committee heard from Mike Cohen yesterday, president of Achieve Inc., a national institute spearheading state's efforts to link academic standards with readiness for college and work. Cohen lauded Minnesota fourth graders’ success on the TIMMS math tests last year, and the state’s "deliberate" and "strategic" efforts to link high school academics to college and career readiness. The committee will be meeting today and tomorrow on one assessment, the Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma math test for high school juniors. Cohen warned the wide achievement gap could derail goals to educate a global-ready workforce. Cyndy Crist, System Director for P-16 Collaboration and Linda Lade, System Director for College Transitions will testify before the committee tomorrow morning.

At the Capitol:
Legislative schedules are available for the House and Senate.

No comments: