But Rome-based Georgia Highlands College is at bare bones as it is, according to spokeswoman Dana Davis.
“With everything we’re doing now, we’ve gotten beyond the point and have absorbed so many cuts as it is,” Davis said. “Unlike other college institutions we have no funding from a lot of different sources. Our funding comes from fees, tuition and state budgets. And we’ve already cut everything.”
According to a memorandum issued by Chancellor Henry Huckaby of the University System of Georgia, The Office of Planning and Budget released Governor Nathan Deal’s instructions for the preparation of the budget cuts.
Those instructions require each agency, department and authority to submit state general fund reduction plans by July 23.
Davis said the budget cuts make it difficult for the school to continue to thrive.
“We want to preserve our quality instruction and learning and — to put the cuts intact — we can’t go out and recruit (students),” she said. “And as enrollment dries up, that will affect our tuition income.”
With some programs already hanging by a thread, Davis said, the cuts will also affect the amount of scholarships the school can award students.
“It impacts almost everything,” she said. “We can’t hire more teachers, but it’s very important we have a good student-teacher ratio because students can need individual attention. But it is what it is. We are determined to getting through it and preserving the quality of instruction, but it’s a challenge.”
However, Davis said these imminent cuts are not as bad as the reductions required by the USG in 2010.
“We had to prepare for a huge cut and we eliminated some programs, but this time we’re not eliminating anything,” she said.
“We don’t have the funds for anything extra anyway, but somehow we’ll manage. This time isn’t as horrible as that was,” Davis said.
According to Huckaby’s statement, Deal’s approach to the budget is to make state government more strategically focused and accountable for performance.
“The expectation is agencies will identify low-priority or under-performing programs and eliminate these programs and/or rethink ser-
vice delivery,” Huckaby wrote. “The Governor’s instructions encourage targeted requests and reductions rather than broad, across-the-board reductions.”
Huckaby said he’s spent time reviewing budget reduction plans with his staff.
“In some cases, plans reflect the strategy outlined by the governor, which include identifying low-priority programs for reduction or elimination,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, a number of plans simply offer to return allocated funds that were deemed to be high priorities or continue the practice of cutting a little from all programs. In the days ahead, fiscal affairs staff will be in touch to discuss plans that fail to adhere to previous instructions.”
For the time being, Huckaby said, college systems under the USG must face the reality that the 3 percent reduction required in the governor’s budget instructions will be needed to meet statewide needs and balance the state budget.