Von Wald: Daugaard's budget would impact MTIThe deep cuts recommended Wednesday by South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard will continue a theme of shifting more of the cost of a technical education from the state to students in those advanced programs, according to Mitchell Technical Institute President Greg Von Wald.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
The deep cuts recommended Wednesday by South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard will continue a theme of shifting more of the cost of a technical education from the state to students in those advanced programs, according to Mitchell Technical Institute President Greg Von Wald.
“A 10 percent cut is obviously going to affect us,” Von Wald said Thursday.
In his speech, Daugaard praised the work of the state’s tech schools and said that money would have to be found to cover increased enrollment but after that, cuts will be imposed.
Von Wald doesn’t believe that cutting tech school support is a wise move. The schools, he said, are training the skilled talent South Dakota needs to compete in the modern marketplace.
Von Wald said the reductions proposed by Daugaard will cost the state’s four technical schools about $2.2 million in state funding, but that loss would not be spread evenly among the four schools because the various programs at each school receive funding at different levels.
The effect on MTI won’t be immediately known for some time, he said.
MTI is under the governance of the Mitchell Board of Education but receives no funding from local property taxes.
About 36 percent of MTI’s $8.3 million in annual funding comes from the state, Von Wald said, and the remainder from the student tuition and fees.
The state has already imposed an additional $1 per credit hour facilities fee for the 2012 school year and Von Wald said a tuition hike “will probably happen, but that increase will be imposed by the state and not MTI.”
Von Wald said his staff will first make the obvious cuts such as trimming travel and not replacing worn equipment. Beyond that, staff cuts remain a possibility.
After several years of state funding cutbacks, Von Wald said that finding fat won’t be easy.
“We’re running as lean as we can right now,” he said. “Even I don’t have a secretary. We eliminated that position last year. Cutbacks are tough during a time when we’re trying to increase our student recruitment efforts.”
Like Mitchell Superintendent of Schools Joe Graves, Von Wald holds out hope that the Legislature will temper Daugaard’s recommendations.
But Von Wald also suspects that the Republican majority in the Legislature will support the GOP governor’s recommendations.
He said he will make no real cuts until the final state funding figures are released in March.
“Whatever happens,” Von Wald said, “it’s going to hurt.”