The numbers of students enrolling in post-secondary professional-technical education programs is up, right along with the economy going down, state PTE Administrator Ann Stephens told JFAC this morning. And, she said, “PTE programs are successful. Ninety-six percent of students who completed a PTE post-secondary program found jobs or continued their education.” Nevertheless, the governor’s recommended budget for PTE next year calls for a 6 percent cut in state general funds. A small portion of the drop comes because two programs, veterans education and oversight of proprietary schools, are being transferred to other departments, the vets program to the Division of Veterans Services and the proprietary schools oversight to the state Board of Education. But most is real budget cuts, which will mean reductions in everything from adjunct faculty to teach professional-technical classes, to curriculum development, to adult basic education outreach in rural areas.
Stephens said the division is thankful it was spared from deeper cuts, as it’s maintaining exactly enough funding to match $7.3 million in federal PTE grants that it doesn’t want to lose. “If we take one dollar more of a cut, the state will have to pay back $7.3 million dollars,” she said. Senate Finance Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, told Stephens, “As you walk through what the budget reductions mean, it’s painful, but we do know that we will survive and we’ll get through it and somehow rebound down the road.”