Planning a school’s budget for a fiscal year isn’t easy, especially when the school is trying to reach an expense reduction target of $5.5 million. The Equinox reported that Keene State College’s expense reduction target will eliminate various positions on campus for the Fiscal Year of 2019 (FY19) and on top of that, the school is moving from a three-school model to a two-school model.
When combining schools and thinking about how many positions will be eliminated, one may view this as a completely negative issue.
However, KSC Interim President Melinda Treadwell has offered to “buy out” faculty and staff rather than firing them. Those interested will be able to apply for a “voluntary separation” program and the administration will then decide who is qualified to take this incentive.
While it’s awful to see anyone lose their job, it is a good thing that the college is attempting to buy faculty and staff out rather than leaving them with nothing.
Though Treadwell has only been at KSC for a semester, we can see the confidence she has in herself and know that her approach to this problem aims to make the campus better as a whole.
Treadwell could have increased tuition more than the 2.5 percent that she plans on for the 2018 academic year. She could have eliminated classes and eliminated even more funding for organizations instead, for example.
Taking on the position as president at a college with financial issues is not simple. No matter what way she goes about trying to make cuts to bring back more money, someone will be upset.
Even though 50-100 faculty will be losing their positions, fixing a $5.5 million expense reduction isn’t that simple. Someone is bound to be affected.
But rather than getting upset about it, we need to give her a chance.
Treadwell told The Equinox, “You all should expect me to get our budget balanced by FY19,” and this is very telling. We need someone who is invested in the student body as a whole and actually cares enough to get the college out of debt as fast as possible. As harsh as it sounds, faculty and staff’s salaries do draw a large amount of money.
When it comes down to it, this situation could be held a lot worse. Recently, another institution within the University System of New Hampshire (USNH), Plymouth State University (PSU), also remodeled their educational system.
The Union Leader reported that when PSU changed their educational system, they added more schools, or “clusters,” which is the opposite of what KSC is doing.
However, similarly to KSC, PSU offered buyouts, of which 63 faculty and staff accepted.
Fifteen additional faculty and staff were laid off during June 2017.
While we appreciate the way Treadwell is handling the $5.5 mil expense reduction, we hope that we will not see our professors laid off.