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Jebb Willis, St. Joseph, Minn., Published May 27 2012

College decision leads to new costs

Recently, the Minnesota State College and Universities board proposed increasing tuition by approximately 4 percent. Since 1984, I’ve been employed at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. I teach business courses and was also an interim dean for two years and interim vice president for one year. I love my job; however, as a taxpayer, I have a concern.

In 2010, SCTCC became a comprehensive two-year college. This change means some faculty will need to go back to college or risk losing their job. My situation requires me to complete 10 graduate-level credits. My bachelor’s degree in finance, my master’s degree in education and six years working in banking are no longer sufficient for me to continue to teach the courses I’ve taught for 28 years.

Who made this decision? MnSCU and the teachers union – Minnesota State College Faculty – made this decision.

The cost to taxpayers is significant. I will take a one-semester sabbatical and will not be teaching any classes while earning my full pay and benefits. Taxpayers will also pay for my tuition and books.

I estimate the total cost to be close to $45,000. Some affected faculty need more than 45 credits to keep their job. The total cost to taxpayers will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

As a taxpayer, I have to ask, “Could these costs be avoided?” The answer is “yes.” MnSCU and MSCF could simply agree to “grandfather in” the affected faculty and apply the new requirements to all new hires. Two-year college faculty members with proven track records should be allowed to continue teaching with their current levels of education.

MnSCU and MSCF owe it to taxpayers to be fiscally responsible. Perhaps tuition increases could be avoided.