Friday, August 22, 2003

Tales from the trenches of collegiate budgeting 

Stephen Karlson reports:
[Y]esterday the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences pulled the old close-the-Washington-Monument trick, responding to a criticism of administrative expenses that has been circulating in the state by showing three job descriptions, for advisors and research personnel serving students, whose salaries are classified as administrative, and further observing that the College did about half the teaching with about 25% of the University's administrative expenses. That still leaves a lot of assessors of the obvious, counselors of the unprepared, diversity boondogglers, form fiddlers -- the paperwork for an external speaker exceeds that for a carload of corn to be milled in transit -- and vice presidents to go after. Are you listening, California?
We have noticed this at St. Cloud State. Again, looking at the latest budget figures, only $80,000 of $2.8 million being cut from the budget here is coming from "classified" salaries -- while $2.1 million comes from unclassified. I've been struggling all week with a supplies budget that is less than $700 per faculty member, no equipment budget, and students who can't get into classes they need in our major. (Why so little, you ask? Well, in our college they took the money from supplies and equipment to pay for another faculty member in ... wait for it ... women's studies. Swell.) We're the monument, and I don't sense that anybody cares.

P.S. Stephen, we've been off quarters for five years. The late date of the State Fair (and it's not late to those of us who lived in California) is most likely due to the later growing season here. The zuchinni are just now in the stores, corn for less than three weeks.