Here is an example of how leading New Hampshire Democratic politicians, including one running for governor, think about spending taxpayer dollars.
Did they wonder why the community college system, in the face of declining enrollment, requested a huge spending increase in the new state budget? Nope. They just gave them the 15% increase, a hike of $16 million.
But now those pols, including state Sen. Dan Feltes, are outraged to learn that their action is not a full jobs-protection act for everyone on the college payroll.
The system losing students is not a new phenomenon.
The college-age population has been declining for several years across the U.S. Some private colleges have been forced to shut down.
And the system’s NHTI-Concord college says its enrollment has been declining for 10 years.
That decline continues. Concord has now lost another 8% of its enrollment just since last year. It faces a $1.2 million deficit despite the increased funding. It is laying off 10 full-time positions to address this.
You can’t do that! shout gubernatorial hopeful Feltes, House Speaker Steve Shurtleff and other Democrats.
They cite community systems boss Ross Gittell’s testimony about the new budget, in which he said the budget request was to “continue the work that we do and support our personnel, and to do that we’ve requested a budget to meet the needs of increased personnel costs based on present head count.”
Alas, the “present head count” of staff, at least at Concord, isn’t sustainable as the head count of students keeps dropping. It also seems that the system promised to increase employee pay and benefits under the increased budget and to freeze the price of tuition.
Clearly something had to give here. Well, perhaps it is not so clear to Democrats, who don’t like the facts messing with their public-works employment projects.