When commenters get unnecessarily personal here on the blog, I like to remind them that I'm not the story; the story is universal health coverage or local housing policy or usurpation of legislative power by the governor or whatever other important issue the original post covers.
But with Governor Rounds saying we might need $71 million of additional budget cuts to balance the state books, it occurs to me it might be useful to put a face on possible reductions in state spending.
So how about me?
I'm a state employee, a doctoral research and teaching assistant at Dakota State University. Each month the Board of Regents sends me (and several other doctoral students at DSU, SDSU, USD, and Mines) a nice check for about $2600. The Regents and the state—i.e., you—also subsidize my tuition (I get a 2/3 discount). In return, DSU receives 20 to 22 hours a week of teaching and information systems research, as well as my continued work on my dissertation and full-time enrollment in graduate classes spring, summer, and fall.
Now I'm sure there's an accounting discussion to be had about how much of my pay comes straight from you, the taxpayers, and how much comes from students paying tuition. So maybe cutting my position would not save as much money as cutting a regular state employee making $31,827 a year. Parse that as you will.
I'm more interested in a simpler question: am I worth it? If the state is broke, and the day still isn't rainy enough to crack open those rainy-day reserves, is it worth paying me (as well as a couple dozen of my fellow eggheads) $31,827 for another year of research and teaching? Or should I be polishing my résumé and selling more ads on the Madville Times?
I'd really rather not be part of the state budget news... but in this case, I am. The floor is open. Your comments on priorities for state spending and investment in higher education are welcome.
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