POTEAU (KFSM) -- Oklahoma state budget cuts are filtering down to state schools like Carl Albert State College.
The school announced it is being forced to cut multiple degree and sports programs. Beginning in the fall of 2016, two athletic programs will be suspended and three degree programs will be eliminated altogether from Carl Albert State College.
“We are a smaller school, so it's kind of taking an impact on the students and the teachers,” Sophomore, Kaeley Elliott, said.
Elliott was in the Radiologic Technology program, but the four-year program is being cut.
“So now I’m general studies, had to change everything, and figure out what I’m going to do from here,” Elliott said.
Elliot said now she has to transfer schools, and some of the basketball players said they are going to have to do the same thing.
“We got a lot of freshmen that play here, you know, this recent year,” basketball player Chris Bates, said. “It's like out of nowhere, so they probably don't know where they're going to go.”
The men's and women's basketball teams are being suspended, but the students said no one is sure when, or if, the teams will ever be back.
“I'll be one of the last players that got a chance to play here, so I don't know what else to really say about it,” Bates said. “It's crazy.”
Elliott said even students who aren't athletes will be affected by the loss of the basketball teams.
“Being a small school, our sports are like pretty much everything here, so I mean, I have no idea what's going to happen after all that,” Elliott said.
Twenty-four employee positions will be cut over the next two years at the Poteau and Sallisaw campuses.
From 2015-2016 the school has experienced $800,000 in budget cuts, and they have projected the total amount of cuts at the end of 2017 to grow to $1,212,237.
CASC President Garry M. Ivey released this statement:
“In 1992 the state budget was in such peril that the college enacted a reduction in force, but this is the first time since then that we find ourselves having to address such difficult issues. We simply can’t continue as usual when our budget reduction from the state is pushing the $1.2 million dollar mark. “
The programs and positions being cut or suspended are as follows:
Men’s basketball – suspended
Women’s basketball – suspended
Art degree program – eliminated
Continuing Ed/SrO program – suspended
Drama productions – suspended
Language arts – Spanish program – minimized – eliminate f/t
Piano courses – eliminated
Cheer – suspended
Temporary associate faculty classification – eliminated
VP for Sallisaw – eliminated
Physical plant admin assistant position – eliminated
Office manager position/Sallisaw – eliminated
IT support specialist position – (two) – eliminated