Still unsure on budget cuts

Nate Neary, Staff Writer

With the semester winding down, the effects of the looming statewide budget cuts proposed by Gov. Pete Ricketts are still not known to the Wayne State College community, and there seems to be no deadline set in stone.
“I’m new to the state, so I’m learning the legislative cycle,” WSC President Marysz Rames said.
Rames said last week that she is waiting on the state legislature to confirm Ricketts’ proposed budget cuts before making the Budget Advisory Task Force’s (BATF) assessment public. There is no rule in place by the legislature that requires the president to do so, but she said she believes it is in WSC’s best interest.
“I think, for the good of the institution and the good of the students, we need to know what we’re up against before decisions are made,” Rames said. “I don’t think it’s helpful to alarm people when we don’t know what it means.”
Rames said that if she were to release the BATF assessment to the public now, it would do more harm than good.
“We use all our money very efficiently and effectively to serve our students. So, when we’re in a reduction mode, it’s going to be difficult to manage that, and it’s going to impact the way we do things here,” Rames said. “Somebody is going to have less money, and it doesn’t matter who it is. Whoever isn’t going to have that money is going to feel like it’s not fair.”
Rames returned to her point of waiting for the legislature to makes its decision when asked if she thought it was responsible and fair to make the cuts public so late in a semester or during the summer.
“Again, we don’t control the schedule or the legislature or the timeline the state works on,” Rames said. “The state has funded our education at a pretty high level compared to other states and that’s great.”
“But now that they’re facing the revenues being down, we as Nebraskans need to figure out what that means and work on their timeline.”
The president said she understands the frustrations of the campus community in not knowing what next semester holds.
“We have to work with the parameters given to us and the timeline given to us,” Rames said. “We have no idea what our cuts are.”
Rames complimented the BATF on its work.
“We put a task force together, and I did not cherry pick people,” Rames said. “It was well represented, they did great work, and I wasn’t even present at the meetings, and I didn’t influence it.”