The total South Dakota budget - from state, federal and other sources - was about $2.5 billion in 2003. The one lawmakers approved last month tops $3.3 billion. That's $800 million in new spending. The Board of Regents' budget during the same period grew from about $278 million to $573 million, some $195 million of the $800 million increase.
Today’s piece gives the Governor’s and University’s side of the story:
Rounds' so-called 2010 Initiative - his long-range plan for the state - includes a strong research component. One goal: Be at least 30th in the nation in National Science Foundation funding by 2010. The regents' budget presentation in the 2007 session said this: "The state remains 51st in NSF research funding as other states also increase their investment."
"We have a long way to go (in research)," Benjamin Perryman, dean of research at USD's Sanford School of Medicine, said this week. "But, seven years ago, you and I would never have even had this conversation, so there is progress. It is being made."
And then there is how the growth is funding:
The FTE growth during that period is 15.6 percent.
Monte Kramer, vice president for administrative services for the regents, says the funding source for new positions in the past five years has broken down this way:
State general funds, 127 positions.
Federal grants and contracts, 241 positions.
Tuition, 75 positions for growth in enrollment.
Other funds, 104 positions, includes enrollment growth at off-campus sites and auxiliary services.
State and private grants and contracts, 100 positions.
Student fees and room and board, 103 positions, for growth in student numbers and services.
Federal appropriations, a cut of almost eight positions.
So a third of the FTE increase has been due to Federal funding. This seems to be celebrated by the regents:
Tad Perry, executive director of the Board of Regents, says enrollment in the public university system is up 13.9 percent since 2000.
"Since the public universities are no longer funded by state general funds for instructional changes as was done in the past ... the additional resources that universities have are those resources from tuition," he said.
Legislators must approve not only state funding but also spending from tuition, federal money and other sources. The regents, like every other agency, need legislative approval for new FTEs.
Federal grant spending has grown 159 percent since 2000, Perry said.
"Add to these the investment in nine new Ph.D. programs by the state, and the faculty and graduate students required to implement the programs, and you will have the items that explain the growth within the regental system," Perry said.
So not only is Higher Ed driving up the size of State government, it is also driving up the size of the Federal government. Again, I will remind us about where that money comes from…taxpayers. It is not right for the State to consider Federal funding as free money. As the article stated, we are competing with other states for the research business, why should the Federal government get involved in that competition?
And speaking about competition, remember this excerpt from Sunday’s Patrick Lalley column:
Jewett, the president of the Board of Regents, knows the real issue. When the debate started this year over whether to move control of the technical institutes away from the K-12 school districts in which they reside, Jewett wrote a letter to lawmakers staking out the Regents claim.
He wrote: "... in this era of shrinking numbers of traditional age K-12 students and stagnant post-secondary 'operations' budgets, the regents just did not feel that it could sit on the sidelines while a second, independent, duplicative and competing post-secondary system was established."
And lets also not forget how the University of South Dakota can afford to pay $180,000 for a $6,000 guitar.