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Tough choices: Keene State bites the bullet

February 19. 2018 7:59PM

Keene State College interim President Melinda Treadwell had a tough job, and she has done it well.

Faced with a $2.4 million budget shortfall this year and a $5.5 million shortfall next year, Treadwell was forced to cut the school’s payroll by 10 percent.

Through a series of voluntary buyouts, Keene State is parting ways with 44 staff members and 11 faculty members. Treadwell says if fall enrollment meets projections, her budget will be balanced this year and next.

That’s a big budget problem for a small school, and Treadwell didn’t have much time to solve it. She announced a financial restructuring plan in November, took over as interim college president in December, and closed the buyout program last week.

Treadwell says the college’s workforce, just under 500, is the right size for its enrollment, with 950 students in each freshmen class.

State taxpayers do not supply a significant portion of state university system funding. Turning to the Legislature to bail Keene State out of its bind was never really an option.

Firing employees is always the toughest choice a manager can make. Treadwell eased that hardship through voluntary buyouts, while getting to a balanced budget. She should be commended for her success. We hope the University System can find someone willing to make tough choices as Keene State’s permanent president

Education Editorial Keene

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