Indiana community colleges may close

Indiana’s rapidly growing statewide community college system, may close up to 20 of its 76 campuses to deal with a $68 million funding gap. Ivy Tech is considered “a national model for statewide efficiency,” but receives only $2,543 per student in state funding.

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  1. Crimson Wife says:

    Could they consolidate into larger regional schools while still retaining the existing campuses as branches?

    • Part of the issue is that they wanted to have at least one campus in every county in Indiana. And campuses are effectively branches– not every class is available on every campus, and some campuses are larger than others… But some counties are fairly unpopulated, and it’s probably not worth maintaining branches in those places, especially since Western Governor’s University is now an option for online degrees.

      The other issue that I see is that Ivy tech doesn’t have a lot of technical classes in things like welding, or auto repair, or plumbing…. instead, it tends toward more academic degrees or preparation for transfer students. I think a less centralized structure might be better, so the classes offered at the community college could better match each community’s needs for continuing education. (They also have very few classes aimed at adults seeking education but not a four year degree… so., cake decorating, or ‘basic carpentry for homeowners’, or any other ‘community college’ classes that resonate with the older members of the community….

  2. Joanne Jacobs,

    The money problem in Indiana is much like the money problem in Oregon where I live. Unfortunately, “the money problem” is an epidemic problem nationwide, with each state having its own particular nuances. But everywhere the problem is most visible where it impacts the funding for public education. Everything is getting squeezed: from preschools and K-12 schools through the community colleges through the graduate programs at universities to even the public funding for medical schools.

    It is a damnable mess, and we adults are to be blamed for it.

    Consider some hard truths about Indiana:
    … Indiana presumes a 7.50% return rate on its pension investments.[15]

    In 2011 Indiana’s public pensions collected 1 percent interest on average last year, rather than the 7 percent the Indiana Public Retirement System originally expected. The low return caused Indiana’s unfunded pension liability to increase from $3.5 billion to $4.9 billion. [17] …

    … At the heart of the issue are pension payments for those who became public school teachers before 1996. Those retirements were guaranteed, but no money was deducted from their schools or their paychecks and set aside. Therefore, lawmakers have to set aside money to do that in the budget. [21] …

    * * *
    That last excerpt creates a whole new dictionary definition for the word “incompetence.” Wow. I am stunned.

    To rightly correct that stunning incompetence would require back-billing all of the schoolteachers who were overpaid and all of the schools that were over-funded going back at least 20 years. Good luck with that Indiana.

    Yet Indiana seems to be soldiering on as if incompetence were something to ignore, that is: the state government intends to pay the guaranteed retirements anyway, even though the pension deductions were already paid out as salaries.

    This nonsense has to stop — completely stop! As it turns out, this nonsense is unconstitutional. In fact, it violates the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — specifically, the clause that states: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

    Please read:
    The document will take at least one hour to read, but everyone should read it. It starts:
    On May 17, 2013, I personally hand-delivered the following 21-page petition to the United States District Court receptionist who then placed it in the in-box for the Honorable Chief District Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S. District Court of Oregon at:
    5500 United States Courthouse
    405 East Eighth Avenue
    Eugene, Oregon 97401-2706

    All Oregon citizens who are school-age children or who are the parents or grandparents of such children are welcome to join my petition. My children are University of Oregon graduates, so I might lack standing according to the rules of the courts. Therefore, the petition could need additional names with indisputable legal standing to go forward.

    Steven A. Sylwester
    May 19, 2013

    * * *

    The petition states:
    I hereby petition the United States Government through its federal courts for a redress of grievances on behalf of the school-age children of the State of Oregon who are suffering an unfair dismantling of their public school education opportunities as a consequence of wrongful and illegal tax money mismanagement by adults within the state government.

    Specifically, the State of Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) pension plan is unconstitutional because it violates the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, all current PERS pension contracts that are in violation should be legally broken by being made null and void as soon as the violations are confirmed, and should thereafter be reestablished with any remaining funds in a fair manner according to all constitutional restrictions and limitations.

    * * *
    Though my petition is specific to the State of Oregon and its PERS pension contracts, the impact of my petition will be felt across America because I petitioned the federal courts, not a state court. Therefore, all American citizens should feel welcome to join in my petition by writing a letter to the Honorable Chief District Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S. District Court of Oregon.

    If my petition succeeds, one trillion dollars of tax money in America will be redirected from pension plans to other purposes, mostly to the funding of public education. Understand this: there is no intended cruelty in my petition. My intention is to honor the dictates of the U.S. Constitution, especially where those dictates protect the interests of our fellow citizens who happen to be school-age children.

    If you read to the end of my petition document, you will find my proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution regarding the funding of public education:
    Re: Article I Section 8. [8]
    The United States shall have one percent (1%) ownership of each and every copyright and patent issued and registered by the United States government. The ownership shall be limited to the pre-tax gross revenues generated by any and all uses of that which is protected by U.S. copyright and patent law, and all such ownership shall be without exception. All revenues earned from such ownership shall be used to fund the free public education guaranteed to citizens by law, with all revenues from patents supporting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education exclusively and all revenues from copyrights supporting either Arts and Humanities education or Physical Education and Health education exclusively according to the general categories that create the revenues (i.e. computer-related patents support computer science education, music copyrights support music arts education, sporting event copyrights support physical education, and so forth).

    My commentary regarding that proposed amendment can be read at:
    Read it! Simply: my proposed amendment would permanently solve “the money problem” regarding the funding of public education in America.

    God bless America!

    Steven A. Sylwester