Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Budget Despair

I went to a meeting with the Headmaster and my college the other day to hear the latest news on the budget crisis.  One problem is that we really don't know how bad it will be.  Various lawmakers have expressed anger at different state schools for doing proactive budget stuff, like offering early retirements, or not rehiring contingent folks who've been around forever, but schools work on fairly long time frames.

We already have students enrolling in courses for fall, and so we have to have staffing in place for those courses.  We can't offer courses, have students sign up, and then pull them at the last minute, except in the case of the course not filling. 

So the Headmaster laid out a couple of different scenarios, with real dollar costs, and the shortfalls look more and more dire, and the hope of relief less and less likely.  If a certain number of people take early retirement, then the shortfall looks like this.  If fewer people take early retirement, then it looks even worse.  But there's really no good news.

One of my students needs to take a first year foreign language.  She should have taken it this year, but for whatever reason, she didn't.  (The intake advisor maybe?  Or classes weren't available when she signed up?)  And now she's my advisee, and we've met, and so I sent her to ask the foreign language folks about her placement (because she doesn't remember). 

And then she emailed me: the placement puts her in the 101 course, but there's only one section of popular language 101 offered in fall, and it's already full.  (Most of our first year students come in ready to take a second semester of a second language, if they need one, and some students don't need a second language at all.  But unless something changes, since this course is already full and has a waiting list, not a single first year student will be able to take the first semester of this language.  Not one.  Holy cow.)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:05 AM

    That's been the situation at the uni where my mom teaches re: foreign languages for as long as I can remember, only not just freshmen being locked out. That's why she tells every high school student in our state she comes across to take 2 (or 4) courses in high school (because that will count for the requirement) or to take it at a community college over the summer. Because there are way too many students who cannot graduate on time because they can't fill the foreign language requirement.

    (Math is the other one that people delay graduation with, though in that case it's because they put it off and don't realize they'll have to take the remedial classes that don't count at all before they're allowed into the math classes that actually count towards the requirement, not because the school can't fit more students into an enormous lecture hall.)