South Dakota College Regents First Consider 35 Recommendations from Cost Reduction Task Force
The Senate Bill 55 task force’s nearly three dozen recommendations range from pursuing a contract with a single food supplier to capping under-enrolled courses to increasing arts-specific benefits. liberal, because university enrollments remain stagnant.
The Regents announced last month that registrations were “largely unchanged” since 2020, Regents Executive Director Brian Maher noting the impact of the ongoing pandemic. The current 33,455 students at six universities represent roughly the same population attending schools in 2009.
On Wednesday October 6, speaking to the board of trustees at a meeting on the campus of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, Maher pivoted to say he had attended a high attendance at the meetings. public on SB 55. But he characterized concerns heard during the meeting from community members that cost-cutting measures do not stifle the system financially.
“One thing we hear is that it’s okay to squeeze and make sure that we also use state dollars, because we don’t forget that we have to consider growing the business as well.” Maher said.
The draft report still had to be voted on for approval by the regents by the deadline. If approved, the report will be provided to Governor Kristi Noem and the Legislative Assembly’s Joint Appropriations Committee as required by law.
The recommendations could have a huge impact on operations for years to come in South Dakota. They detail, for example, the combination of human resources functions between Black Hills State University and SD Mines, the redesign of the focus of Sioux Falls Community College, whose enrollment is declining, and the merger two nursing programs in Rapid City,
Maher and Board of Regents staff have toured the state, presenting the proposed recommendations so far from the South Dakota State University campus in Brookings to the BHSU campus in Spearfish.
Last week in Spearfish, a former lawmaker challenged Maher and his staff to increase university funding for BHSU. Heather Forney, vice president of finance and system administration, has promised new recommendations will focus on funding per school.
The 68-page document, now posted on the council’s website, contains a recommendation to examine funding models to find out if they are “fair and sustainable.” Specifically, the task force report noted that there was no “equal funding” per student at all universities.
While noting that there are inequalities in funding, the report argues that measuring universities exclusively on the basis of FTEs is “an oversimplification of a complex problem.”
Respective potential reductions in study programs, the report calls on colleges to set an 18% cap for offering “low enrollment” courses, recognizing that many of these courses are internships, workshops and graduate or “studio” courses, such as in art. classroom, which generally require lower student-teacher ratios.
But the task force called on institutions to find a way to end duplication of online courses, noting that some institutions are sharing online offerings for German and physics courses.
The process, which spanned six major task force meetings and nearly two dozen sub-committee meetings including business leaders, lawmakers and academic staff, has sparked dismay among college towns, universities and universities. professors and staff who feared that Peter would be over-stretched at the behest of a Joint Credit Committee which is increasingly hostile to perceived liberal prejudices in higher education.
The new plan appears to take this political challenge into consideration, encouraging frequent conversations “with key lawmakers outside of legislative sessions.”