TSU outlines potential cuts

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 23, 2001

Special to The Messenger

Feb. 22, 2001 10 PM

Editor’s Note: The following press release was issued Thursday night by Troy State University’s public affairs office. The entire text of the release follows.

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The Troy State University System will be forced to raise tuition by as much as 40 percent, lay off more than 60 employees and eliminate several public services, including the Southeastern Public Radio Network, if higher education absorbs the full force of proration of the state education budget.

Dr. Douglas Patterson, System Vice Chancellor, announced Thursday the proposed steps that TSU must take to cope with 18 percent proration. The announcement comes after Montgomery Circuit Judge Tracy McCooey’s ruling Thursday that it is unconstitutional to cut K-12 funding. The ruling creates the likelihood that higher education will absorb all of the funding cuts under proration of the state budget.

Dr. Patterson said 18 percent proration would force The TSU System to cut $7 million from its budget for this year.

"This is a disastrous ruling. When the Governor announced 6.2 percent proration, we developed a plan that would allow us to hold the line on tuition, not lay anyone off and not affect academics," Dr. Patterson said. "If we have to cut $7 million, we will have to take drastic measures." The measures under consideration by the Troy State University System leadership include:

· A 40 percent tuition increase for all campuses in the system, including Troy State University Dothan, Troy State University Montgomery and Troy State University at Phenix City. This would push tuition from $2,850 a year to $4,000 a year.

· Eliminate at least 60 faculty and staff positions, which will increase class size and reduce the number of course sections.

· Eliminate Southeastern Public Radio Network.

· Close TSUM’s Davis Theatre.

· On the main campus in Troy, cut back on fine arts programs by canceling all dramatic and musical theater productions and discontinuing all choral music groups.

· Eliminate all technology and equipment purchases.

· Eliminate career development services.

· Eliminate student counseling services.

· Eliminate printing, copying and reproduction services.

Dr. Patterson said the cuts are necessary to protect the central mission of Troy State University.

"We are protecting our core programs, but I refuse to say that we are cutting waste, because we don’t consider cultural programs such as public radio and fine arts productions as extras," Dr. Patterson said. "These things are key to the mission of the university, but they will have to be put on hold or eliminated if the situation is not rectified."

The greatest threat comes to the students themselves, Dr. Patterson added, in the form of larger class sizes, diminished course offerings and a more expensive education.

"The net effect of proration will be students having to pay much more for college and having to take longer than four years to graduate," Dr. Patterson said. "It’s not just Alabama’s colleges and universities that will suffer – it’s everyone."