MnSCU Prepares For Potential State Shutdown

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — With just 23 days to the possible state government shutdown, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities students and faculty are worried.

“It just can’t happen — it shouldn’t happen,” said Henok Fanta, a Business Administration senior at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul.

But it will happen, if there’s no budget deal between Gov. Mark Dayton and state lawmakers by July 1. That’s when the state’s next budget biennium begins. But if there’s no budget agreement by June 30, most state agencies will have no money to continue operations.

It’s a big concern for the 67,000 students now enrolled in summer classes at the state’s 32 colleges, technical schools and universities. So on Wednesday, MnSCU trustees met in emergency session to prepare contingency plans.

“We remain hopeful that we will have a good outcome from the executive branch. But it’s our judgment that we should start these actions now in order to do the responsible job before we get to June 30,” said Laura King, MnSCU’s vice chancellor and chief operating officer.

King said the system has enough money in state accounts to keep operating. The problem is that it needs a special agreement from the Minnesota Management and Budget office to allow MnSCU access to its funds. The money would be needed to pay continuing operational costs and payroll.

Already, just the threat of a state shutdown is having negative impacts on student enrollment.

“We know by personal accounts on all our campuses that we’re losing students today to our neighboring states, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Iowa,” said Richard Davenport, president of Minnesota State University Mankato.

Worse yet, for students already enrolled, this is when their financial aid is processed for the next semester.

“Without the staff available to make that happen we’re going to end up with a number of students not getting classes, or financial aid in the fall,” Davenport said.

With their aid in the balance and summer classes on hold, students like Fanta worry it will mean costly delays, getting out of school and into the workforce.

Fanta said his senior level classes could be in jeopardy.

“They’re hard to get into and it took me this long to get into it. Come to find out, it might be closing, I’m not happy about it,” he said.

More from Bill Hudson
  • William

    Republicans are bent on destroying our society.

    • Just work it out

      Democrats are bent on destroying our society. This gimme more mentality has to stop somewhere. We can ‘t keep spending like we are and not expect it to catch up with us.

      • William

        No spending problem, a lack of revenue problem, is our problem. Slackers must pay.

        • DevilDog3249

          And just who are the Slackers? bottom 40% dont pay any income taxes. So if you tell me the rich are slacking then I will know you are nuts.

          • jimmy

            The bottom 40% not making enough money to pay income tax says more about the greed of the top 2% than anything else.

            • Laura

              Well said.

    • Jim

      Joe, thanks for your valuable contribution to the discussion. Does calling people you disagree with names on internet message boards make you feel better about your life? I’m curious.

      • joe

        I wasn’t calling any names. I was just stating the truth.

        • Jim

          A person’s opinion does not equal the truth. If it did, you would be too stupid to have typed what you just typed. Have a nice day.

  • Otis

    And thus this is the reason the country is going to fail. Both parties can not agree. I wonder if something similar happen in Rome before they collapsed. BTW Economics is man made. If humans were not so hell bent in competition and control we could have such a better world. We live in unique times with our technology. We as people could do so much more but instead we stay hell bent on the concept of money and power. But don’t tell that to all the people in power.

    • IWonderIF

      very insightful!

    • tuna-free dolphin

      Utter foolishness. The idea that society would, should or even could eliminate the natural human tendancy to compete and excel and even beat the competition is supremely naive and totally unworkable. You might as well wish the sun wouldn’t set. Too many have tried to control and push down and contain that natural tendancy and failed miserably (former USSR, Europe, Cuba, China). If you really want to try, then good luck to you. Rally your troops, mount up on your Unicorns and go forth.

  • G Dog

    Send the postage bill to the Republican Party of Minnesota. They can add it to their list of things they haven’t paid for yet, like the gubernatorial recount.

  • Victim Du Jour

    If I had millions to make a TV ad, I’d show people getting harassed by probation officers and social workers, people getting pulled over for seat belts. Public School Teachers showing kindergarten Children how to put condoms on bananas with their mouth.

    Meth Addicts getting free dental care, a two ton family buying $260 of Frozen Pizza and Eggos with an EBT card.

    And someone court ordered into mental health
    for texting pictures of their junk.

    And then I would accuse Dayton of being a government freak show.

    • Jim

      Victim, I’m impressed with your ability to make a lengthy, four-paragraph post that has absolutely nothing to do with the story you posted it under. Kudos.

  • tuna-free dolphin

    BTW forgot to mention in my previous comment: 6000 is only a start. But we’ll take what we can get. The amount of waste, especially in education is epic. In fact many would argue it’s where the bulk of wasteful spending is in our budget. So it makes perfect sense, especially in light of our poor performing schools to cut education. In fact if one looks at the increase in spending together with the corresponding decrease in performance, it stands to reason that spending more actually makes education worse. Someone care to prove me wrong?

    • Jim

      There is no evidence that I’m aware of that spending more on education decreases the performance of students. There is also no evidence that spending more increases performance.

      I support these cuts just as I support all cuts during a time of financial crisis. As I’ve said from the beginning, until the adults take charge and both raise taxes AND cut spending across the board, this country is not going to recover.

  • Jim


  • Carl

    So the students are on summer break. I dont think 6000 employees are going to be miossed over the next 3 months.

    • Dennis

      Summer break for some, summer session for others.

    • Laura

      But those 6000 employees still have jobs to do over the summer to prepare for fall, and like any employee, depend on a salary year round. It’s not just 9 month faculty that are impacted here.

  • Carl

    Nothing thrills the religious right quite like closing public schools. Knowledge and reason are such threats.

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