Many have wondered if they were going to be part of
layoffs as budget woes continue to permeate Colorado. Not at Metro State,
according to President Stephen Jordan, who held a Town Hall Meeting this
morning in Tivoli Turnhalle in front of nearly 200 faculty, staff and students.
This welcome news was part of Jordan’s presentation,
which used the metaphor of a familiar family activity of completing a puzzle by
using the strategy of first identifying the four corners, which are “the
strength of the puzzle.”
In doing so, he highlighted four key “corners” of Metro
State’s budget moving forward:
Ritter’s Budget Proposal
the release of the governor’s proposed budget for 2011-12, “We’ve got at least
the beginning part of what the budget for higher education will be,” said Jordan
of the proposal. For Metro State, this year’s budget of $44 million would be
decreased by 11.2 percent to $39 million for next year due to the loss of the
federal stimulus funds and additional
Because of budget
reductions implemented in July 2009 and the strategic allocation of stimulus
dollars, including Rightsizing With Technology initiatives, the federal stimulus dollars
cut will not significantly impact the College, according Jordan.
He also reiterated
stimulus-funded positions will end June 30, 2011.
Jordan also noted Gov. Ritter’s plan called for no salary
increases for classified employees, and to continue the employees’ share of the
2.5 percent PERA adjustment. He
stressed, “We are going to have to work with executives to turn this around in
the long run.”
While the governor’s proposal reported the continuance of
furlough days at other state non-higher education agencies, there would be no
furloughs at Metro State. “We control that for our employees,” he said.
Higher Education Strategic Plan – The Degree Dividend
who served on the HESP's Mission Subcommittee, said
the “Board of Trustees and I are supportive of the focus on the right things –
the shifting demographics of students…from degrees to workforce.”
“It’s an essential element of our plan for the future
that’s finally getting recognition from the state,” he added.
Another element of the HESP is the possibility of a
stronger Colorado Commission on Higher Education, which would have the capacity
and policy levers to align state goals and priorities with institutional
actions and responses. “Many believe CCHE should go away, but we are among those
institutions insisting if a decentralized system is so great, why are we in the
mess we are in.”
Regarding a comparison
of state funding by institution type, Jordan’s presentation showed that
state colleges receive an average of $5,212 per student to an average $5,259 per
student at research universities. Even more dramatic was Metro State’s funding
of $2,573 per student.
He stressed the fairness in supporting historically
underrepresented students, which make up such a large portion of Metro State’s
student body and emphasized the need for additional resources, including
full-time faculty and student support services. He asked that everyone take
this message to their legislators, friends and others.
Of particular interest to Metro State is the HESP’s
recommendation that the Auraria Higher Education Center be studied to be
determine if this model is no longer sustainable, an idea Jordan supports
He said the idea has gone from “no conversation” two
months ago to “being included in the (Degree Dividend) report” and talked about
among Gov. Ritter’s policy representatives.
He added, “It may be time to
rethink (Auraria). That could be divvying up the buildings, moving to a new
location, such as the (old CU medical complex at Colorado Boulevard and 8th
). We’d invite a study that would examine those tough questions.”
While CCHE has approved the College’s FAP plan, required by SB 3: Tuition
Flexibility, it still needs to be approved by the Board of Trustees at the May
2011 meeting, Jordan said. He also said
that the plan
approval allows for changes if they find “financial conditions
The FAP proposes a 16.4 percent net increase in resident tuition that would be reached
from a proposed 21 percent resident tuition increase, with an accompanying conversion
to tuition of the mandatory:
▪ information technology and
registration fees ($164)
▪ course-specific internet fees ($24 per credit hour)
▪ the third-year increase of the bond
fee for the Student Success Building and backfill project. ($184)
For the 2011-12
academic year, the result would be: resident tuition for 12-18 credit hours would
increase to $3,759 and fees for 12-18 hours would decrease to $1,007 for a
Jordan pointed out that,
per SB 3’s requirement of maintaining access for low- and middle-income
students, the College will set aside the existing mandatory $3.5 million, and
the new SB 3 allocation of $3.3 million for student aid, bringing the
institutional scholarship budget to $6.8 million.
State economic forecast
There are key dates to note, according to
Jordan, that will help to continue putting the pieces of the puzzle together –
the Dec. 15, 2010 state revenue projections as well as the forecasts in March,
June and September of 2011.
“We do believe
(Colorado) is on the road to recovery, albeit a slow one,” he said.
his presentation Jordan took several questions from audience members, most of
whom expressed support for his plan. For instance Professor of Music Larry
Worster commended him for “putting students at the center of your vision.”
However, one question from the audience expressed that
some classified staff have received no raises for almost a decade and asked
“when will classified staff be represented in the puzzle.”
Noting that statutory and policy changes would need to be
made, Jordan responded that he and other College presidents were “open to
partnering with you and looking at the options, but we don’t have any legal
When asked about searches now underway that had been cancelled,
Jordan said that those searches will go forward. He also explained that $3.8
million that has been put aside for various needs such as mandates and
infrastructure could be used for additional staff.
Jordan ended the meeting be thanking everyone for their
hard work and wishing them a happy
View the PowerPoint
A video of the event will be posted by end of day Friday on President Stephen Jordan’s website.
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