For technical schools, well may soon run dry

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has requested $700 million in funding for the state’s 34 technical schools. But with decreased enrollment, it may not be enough. The result could be faculty layoffs and program terminations.

That’s because funding for the schools is based on enrollment, which has dropped the past two years after more than a decade of steady growth. When enrollment goes down, so does the per-pupil allocation schools receive.

That means the schools are slated to receive $7 million dollars less for personnel than last year.

Ron Jackson, acting commissioner of the technical school system, said he will have to fire teachers if the system does not get more funding. On average, each school would have to lay off four full-time staffers, he said.

“We can’t have people on staff for a program that doesn’t meet the need for their community,” Jackson said.

I’m a strong advocate of technical schools because there are a great many fields where future employees are better served by technical training rather than at a four year college or university. It would be unfortunate to see Georgia technical schools fall behind or completely evaporate.

5 comments

  1. Skeptical says:

    I wonder if enrollment is down because those people who would typically enroll in a technical school opted to go into the military and receive training there without having to pay for it because they couldn’t afford the technical school.

  2. Adam Fogle says:

    Skeptical,

    I think it may but that in part, but more than anything the increased [perceived] “necessity” to hold at least a bachelor degree has forced more students to attend four-year schools rather than technical schools.

    So many people now hold a four-year degree, that it’s almost compulsory in order to be competitive.

  3. DougieFresh says:

    I was thinking that this might be due to a decrease in students attending college, but according to this chart the numbers seem to be going up.

    I guess the decrease in technical school enrollment may be caused by a short term glut by non traditional older students coming back to get degrees due to the demands of the modern day workplace. Once that demand is met, it would decline as the student body becomes more traditional (right out of high school).

    In any event, take a look at the disparity between the number of women that attend college and the number of men. Strange that organizations like NOW never harp on that form of “discrimination”.

  4. The Advocate says:

    Can’t afford technical school? Georgia has one of the cheapest tuitions at $31 a credit hour. The enrollment decline is a product of the economy. When the economy picks up people aren’t going back to school to get retrained. When the economy sours people flood to DTAE. Their data confirms it.

    The bigger issue has to do with enrollment formulas. When the state is strapped for cash they see an enrollment increase and thus earn more funding. And when the state has money, they see an enrollment decline and get cut.

    The bottomline is that DTAE is serving less students this year than last. Should the state fund them at the same level or reduce their funding?

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