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Take a close look at this because it might be the last article of its kind. This refers to the rarest of rare creatures: a St. Cloud Times article about St. Cloud State that isn’t full of propaganda. That isn’t to say that it’s particularly hard-hitting. It certainly isn’t critical of President Potter. Here’s a representative sample of the article:

St. Cloud State President Earl Potter said the budget reductions will probably be made without layoffs. The university is using reserves to help close the deficit. “We are able to make those reductions largely without negative impact,” Potter said.

What isn’t said is what’s important. The reckless spending that President Potter signed contracts on would almost totally eliminate the need for budget cuts. The contract President Potter signed with the J.A. Wedum Foundation has been in effect for 3 years now. During the first 2 years, St. Cloud State paid the Foundation all the rent that was collected plus $2,250,000. The third year is in the books but the financial figures haven’t come out yet. Rumor has it that the University will have to write a check worth between $950,000 and $980,000.

That’s before talking about the debt service on the National Hockey Center renovations. That’s before talking about the money SCSU is paying to the City of St. Cloud for 3 police officers. That’s another $20,000 a month. Then there’s this from Dave Aeikens’ article:

St. Cloud State University is in the process of reducing its 2013-2014 budget by about 1.7 percent. The reductions amount to about $2.9 million. The university has a budget of about $150 million. The reduction is tied to a 5 percent decline in enrollment.

That’s quite an admission, especially considering the fact that Mr. Aeikens wrote an article in early October that Silence Dogood highlighted in this post:

At 6:19 p.m. last Friday evening, Dave Aeikens published an article in the online version of the St. Cloud Times stating that SCSU announced that fall semester enrollment is down only 1.3%! This is amazing news since only two days earlier on Wednesday, at Meet and Confer between the Faculty Association and the SCSU Administration; the administration distributed a budget document planning for a 5% decrease in enrollment and a budget reduction of over $2,800,000.

The Potter administration published a statement that talked about headcount numbers. Dave Aeikens quoted those statistics in his article. As Silence highlighted, the Potter administration didn’t talk about FYE enrollment because they were a problem for his administration.

In last night’s article, Aeikens quoted the FYE numbers, something that I’ve consistently published here on LFR. Gone from last night’s article is the head count enrollment, which aren’t telling in terms of budgets. Another thing missing from Dave Aeikens’ article is the fact that FYE enrollment is almost certain to be down more than 5%. The more SCSU’s FYE enrollment is down, the bigger the budget cuts will have to be. The only other option for the Potter administration is to take more from their reserves.

Neither option is appealing. Unfortunately for the University, it isn’t about what’s appealing. It’s about doing what one has to do.

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4 Responses to “St. Cloud Times runs negative SCSU article”

  • Terry Stone says:

    Potter has made yet another poor choice. Bleeding the SCSU reserve fund instead of making tough choices that “right-sizes” the institution will exacerbate the job of the next university president. May he arrive soon.

  • Yeager says:

    Interesting…Potter is savaged on this blog for making choices that preserved (and actually increased) the reserve, and now that it is possible that the University might use it to save jobs, he’ll get blasted for doing so.

  • Crimson Trace says:

    Yeager: Potter is savaged, huh? Feel free to provide us the data from MnSCU or other credible sources to provide a strong opposing argument. It is quite apparent that Silence Dogood’s MnSCU data driven argument versus your one sentence data free observation are light years apart in credibility. Please, do your best to convince us with data.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Yeager, that’s a nice try at defending the indefensible. Apparently, you’re hoping we don’t talk about President Potter presiding over a lengthy, substantial enrollment decline. President Potter fired Dr. Saffari because he didn’t put together an enrollment retention plan. More than 2 years later, Potter’s admininstration hasn’t put a plan together.

    Instead, enrollments have steadily declined under President Potter’s watch, which has led to SCSU missing out literally on millions of dollars of tuition revenues. If the Potter regime had done a better job at turning the enrollment slide around, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    That’s before talking about the foolish spending decisions President Potter’s made. If he hadn’t signed the Wedum Foundation contract, SCSU wouldn’t have written them over $3,000,000 in checks. In fact, they might’ve gotten some of those students in dorms that make the University money. That’s literally a difference of millions of dollars.

    I haven’t seen Yeager argue that President Potter’s signing the Wedum Foundation contract was wise. I’ve just seen him argue that LFR hasn’t given President Potter kid glove treatment. If President Potter wants kid glove treatment, he can ask the SC Times to coddle him. At LFR, we believe in asking tough questions and reporting important information. I’m not trying to be the next generation of the Times.

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