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Bismarck State College President: Budget Cuts Forcing Retirements

BISMARCK, N.D. ― The president of Bismarck State College says 15 employees are retiring by the end of this year and most of them have been driven out by statewide budget cuts.

President Larry Skogen tells the Bismarck Tribune that he expects more retirements from teachers and staff to be announced as the school grapples with a shrinking budget due to depressed oil and crop prices.

According to Skogen, the school has already cut back on basic operational funding and some travel expenses.

The college was required to cut its 2017-19 budget by $1.6 million earlier this year. Skogen said the school is estimated to save $400,000 through the reorganization of several top positions.

Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Drake Carter’s last day with the college was Friday. Carter worked for the school system for 29 years, including teaching anatomy and physiology for 12 years before moving into administration.

“With the number of retirements we’ve had this year, you know we are losing a lot of the institutional history — the sort of unwritten things,” said Carter. “That’s difficult, I think.”

Skogen will take over Carter’s duties until his position is filled next July.

According to Skogen, the 15 retiring employees, administrative and academic, have over 400 years of experience and have “contributed their lives to this institution.”

All 15 employees will receive retirement incentives this year.

The school will hire junior faculty members with lower salaries to fill some of the vacated positions, while some positions will remain unfilled.

North Dakota United represents thousands of teachers across the state. President Nick Archuleta says he’s heard from teachers across the entire North Dakota University System. He says they are worried about how statewide budget cuts will impact higher education in the state, including the ability to attract students.

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