Friday, February 18, 2011

HB 1002

Friends and family of Arkansas, we need your help.  This is a serious request.  I don't want to go so far as to say "if you love me, you'll do this" but this is a pretty severe problem being faced by state colleges.  As you know, I work for one of those colleges.

The issue is with bill HB 1002.  The name is the "Capital Gains Reduction Bill of 2011".  It just passed the House by 53 votes.  If this passes the Senate, state-funded colleges will lose an estimated 5-10% of their funding.

I don't think I have to tell you that in an economic climate where more people have returned to school, this is not the time to cut college funding.  At PTC, we have seen record enrollment of over 11,000 students.  As my friend, you may be aware of the extra classes that I had to teach last semester and how stressing and awful it was to have a full time administrative job plus an overload's worth of teaching.  Without administrative duties, a full load is three sciences; I taught five.  Well, most of our instructors will be forced into overload schedules because we will not be able to hire to meet the demand.  That means quality of our instruction goes down.  Our student services and administration is already taxed; our computer systems can't stay online on the busy days.  We simply can't keep our heads above water.

I'm asking you to write your state Senator.  Urge him/her to vote against this bill.  If you don't know who your Senator is, click here.  Please don't just read this and do nothing.  This will affect me on a personal and daily level.

Here is the letter I wrote my senator, if you'd like an example:
Dear Senator Johnson,

I am writing to simply urge you to vote against HB1002, which just
passed the House with 53 votes.  I work in administration for Pulaski
Technical College.  We have experienced explosions of student growth
during these more difficult economic times.  We have barely contained
the record 11,000 students.  Faculty are teaching overload schedules,
administration and staff struggle to stay above water with support
requests; there are days when the computer systems fail because so many
people are on the servers.  If this bill passes and we lose an estimated
5-10% of our state funding, I don't want to even imagine the results. 
The quality of our service and instruction to students will suffer. 
This is a time we need to be expanding our workforce, our student
support services, and our economic development, not reducing it.

Thank you for your time,

Benjamin Peacock
Little Rock, AR
I was surprised to get a reply back within 10 minutes!  Here is what he said:
Benjamin, thanks for writing. I agree with you and plan to vote against the bill. David
I'm by no means any kind of activist, but internal emails from the upper echelons of PTC have notified us about the seriousness of this bill.  I'm just asking for a few minutes of your time to help us out.  Thank you.

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