Yesterday’s report by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting that Maine’s state college system made deep program cuts even as it hoarded $177 million in cash is in some ways a representation of budget battles everywhere. Do you cut or do you spend?
Except for one thing: This isn’t really a question of either raising taxes (or, in this case, tuition) or making cuts. It’s simply a question of whether to use rainy day funds on a rainy day. When it comes to avoiding mission-critical cuts or spending reserves set aside to preserve your institution, it’s not really a question at all.
Trustees are apparently comfortable bringing their own version of sequestration on Maine’s college students. We’re not, and would welcome an inquiry into whether funds at our state colleges are being managed with students’ best interests in mind.