New York’s governor and legislature are touting progress in higher education funding in the just-passed state budget. An overall investment of $7.6 billion according to the governor’s office includes money for the second phase of the Excelsior Free Tuition Program. It also includes a boost of $103 million in overall funding for higher education. But only $11 million of that is distributed to the 47 four-year SUNY campuses. In the second part of their interview, SUNY Plattsburgh President Dr. John Ettling tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that translates to a status quo budget for his campus.
“It’s not worse than last year. It’s not better than last year. It’s essentially the same state appropriation. I was very pleased to see that EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) and the Small Business Development Center are back in there and funded again. There’s that Performance Improvement Plan, $18 million, which was the same as we had last year. That’s a kind of a pot of money for which schools submit proposals that are funded or not. And there’s some money for deferred maintenance and capital. And that’s all fine. Two things fell out that from my point of view it’s unfortunate. Those would be additional appropriations to pay for negotiated salary increases for the people who work there. That’s not in there. But that hasn’t been in any of the state budgets that we’ve lived with for the last two or three years. So what we have to do is to find internal resources to pay those raises. It’s because we’re obliged to do and that’s fine. The people who work there, the faculty and staff, deserve those raises. But it means fewer people working at the college in order to pay the raises for everybody else.”
SUNY Plattsburgh President Dr. John Ettling also spoke about implementation of an action plan following a recent racist social media post that upset the Northern New York campus. A link is at wamc.org.