ATLANTA (December 1, 2008) – Senate Appropriations subcommittee meetings continued today with the Higher Education subcommittee and the Best Value in Government Task Force joining for a workshop at the Capitol.  The subcommittee discussed agency reports, efficiencies, and cost savings for the Board of Regents and Technical College System of Georgia.  Senators John Wiles (R-Marietta) and Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) co-chaired the meeting. 

“The state’s investment in higher education goes beyond student enrollment and retention; it’s investment in Georgia’s industries such as agriculture, forestry, technology and medical,” said Sen. Wiles.  “Programs within higher education have the potential to greatly impact our state’s economic future, but we must ensure that we are getting the greatest return on the state’s investments.” 

Each agency presented an overview of programs, efficiencies, and cost savings that have been implemented.  The current budgets were submitted and several agencies were asked to provide further detailed information on particular programs or services.  Members of the committee focused on uncovering duplicated services between agencies, and encouraged making as many programs self sufficient as possible.

Chancellor Erroll Davis presented an overview of the Board of Regents’ budget.  The committee looked closely at the state funds used for teaching programs, public information extension services, research programs and technology development.  Members discussed finding efficiencies in funding used for teacher training and certification, while still meeting regional school system needs.  Senators also emphasized concerns regarding teaching hospitals and some industries being turned away from education programs.   

The committee also heard testimony from Commissioner Ron Jackson, who presented the Technical College System’s plan for merging several of its campuses to reduce administrative overhead costs.  

Additional joint workshops are scheduled through mid-December.  The remaining topics for those meetings include education and fiscal management.  The workshops are being held at the request of Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, who has charged the Senate to proactively identify non-essential government services and maximize efficiency and value in our state government.

Senate Press Office