(Update) Senate bill would cut MnSCU, U of M HQ by 10 percent

"Decisions that affect our local campuses are best made by the local campuses, not a central office in St. Paul. We do not need multiple layers of administration."

-- Senator Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) telling the Winona Daily News about the bill he introduced yesterday that would cut by 10 percent the funding for the University of MinnesotaMinnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system central office for the next biennium.

MnSCU and the U would not be allowed to spread out the cut among their campuses.

(I'm never sure about whether to write up bills much, as many never make it very far and just represent a lot of grandstanding on issues. We'll see about this one, so I've included the stuff below and will ask around about it.)

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The Daily News reports:

MnSCU would see funds appropriated for its central office in St. Paul, Minn., fall $8.5 million from the 2010-2011 biennium, slashing deeper than Gov. Mark Dayton's recommended $1 million in cuts. The University of Minnesota received $646 million total from the state for the same two-year period, but university staff are not required to calculate how much is spent on the offices mentioned in Miller's bill.

It's co-authored by fellow Republican senators John Carlson of Bemidji and John Pederson of St. Cloud, along with Senate DFLer Kathy Sheran of Mankato.

It should get its hearing on the higher ed committee next week, though I've heard nothing about it there so far. (Update: A Miller staffer says it's slated for Monday's session.)

You can read the original bill text here and the full story here.

Here's Miller's press release:


St. Paul - Senator Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) introduced legislation that requires a reduction in spending for administrative costs at Minnesota’s public higher education institutions. The bill, Senate File 504, calls for a ten percent reduction in funding to the University of Minnesota administrative services and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) central office.

Senator Miller, Vice Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, stated, “This legislation has bi-partisan support and is the first step in the process to restructure and prioritize higher education spending in the State of Minnesota.  This bill requires that the reduction not be charged back to any campus or institution, which will protect our students and the classroom. In this time of economic slowdown we are calling on all government organizations to practice fiscal restraint and implement reforms as we move Minnesota forward.”

Senate File 504 reduces the appropriations to the MnSCU central office and the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota by ten percent for the fiscal year 2012-13 budget.

Senate File 504 was referred to the Senate Higher Education Committee, where it will receive its first hearing next week.