Well, Michigan now has a budget, and the Governor did not use her line item veto to completely destroy Extension. That’s the good news.

But.   The Extension budget will still be cut 44%, which is a LOT.  Part of the problem is that Extension funding is incredibly complex. Between County, State, and Federal inputs, it’s hard to say what the actual final reductions will be. The Ann Arbor Chronicle has some good coverage of how this plays out at the County office level.

The reality is there will be big cuts. In everything.
In fact, most of the big holes in the Michigan budget are backfilled for 6 months by stimulus money.  Which means that nothing is actually resolved.

All State Universities and public education systems will also be cut–and the pain slightly deferred for now with Stimulus money. From the Detroit News:

“Michigan State University has proposed eliminating 40 academic programs and shutting two departments in effort to save the university money…..The recommendations called for eliminating two doctoral programs, two education specialist programs, 13 master’s programs, four graduate specializations, 16 undergraduate majors and three undergraduate specializations.”

Now, the loss of the Canadian Studies major…yeah. BFD.
And I don’t think it’s a bad thing (in the abstract) to have some departmental/program consolidation at the bigger schools.
But disbanding the entire MSU geology department? Didn’t see that one coming.  And when you know the people involved, it’s a lot harder.

I am happy that there will be time for people to at least try and plan for the big hit that’s going to come in 2010 when the stimulus money goes away.  And folks are doing their best to put this on a positive spin, and to see good stuff to come from consolidation.

I have to say, the whole thing reminds me of this Monty Python sketch–with Michigan’s education system as the Black Knight.  “Tis but a scratch! Just a flesh wound!”

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!

One Comment

  1. Sadly this sounds very familiar from what goes on in my state. Someday, maybe people will start to see value again in investing in higher education and infrastructure. But I’m not holding my breath.

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