President Jordan updates campus on Bush administrations budget proposal; PART
(Note: The following is a February 6 email memorandum from President Jordan to the campus community.)
“… Today the Bush Administration’s FY 2007 federal budget was made public by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Administration requests an appropriation of $107 million for Gallaudet, the same amount we received in our FY 2006 appropriation. That the Administration included $107 million for Gallaudet, a straight-line request, is good news, particularly in light of the fact that the total appropriation request for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) was reduced by nearly 30%. Of course, this is just the first step in the federal budgeting process that leads to our final appropriation by Congress-but it is an important step.
“Also released today was the 2006 PART report. PART is the Program Assessment Rating Tool, a process that OMB put into place a few years ago as part of the Bush Administration budget process. One section of this report names federally supported programs deemed ineffective. A program called “Federal Support for Gallaudet University” was among those judged ineffective by OMB. My dismay over the title of the report and its conclusion was only partially relieved after I reviewed the document and found that it is both an evaluation of the University and the Department of Education’s [ED] oversight of Gallaudet’s federal support. The report’s name and the misleading assessment it presents could cause readers to believe the rating refers only to Gallaudet.
“The Provost and I knew that the OMB assessment was taking place over the past year. But when we inquired about Gallaudet’s participation in the process we were told it was primarily about the ED’s oversight responsibilities, and that we were not invited to participate in meetings, help interpret data, or even allowed to comment on preliminary findings. In other words, we had no direct involvement in the OMB assessment.
“Fortunately, the PART rating had no negative impact on Gallaudet’s appropriation request, but it could have a temporary effect on the University’s image. That is why it is important for every member of the campus community to understand the true purpose of the OMB report, which is to evaluate the ED’s oversight responsibilities relative to Gallaudet’s federally funded programs. Gallaudet has been serving people who are deaf and hard of hearing for nearly 150 years and our thousands of successful alumni are proof that, regardless of what this report says, ours is an extraordinarily effective University.
“I have already protested the PART rating and the process by which it was produced to the Director of OMB and the Secretary of Education. I have had several meetings and phone conversations with our friends on Capitol Hill to share my concerns about PART and I will continue to work with them as I develop a response to OMB and ED. Of course I will also keep the community informed about the FY 2007 budget as it progresses towards final authorization. And as always, I will continue to work closely with Congress, our Board of Trustees, and others to ensure that Gallaudet receives the support it needs and deserves to carry out its unique educational mission on behalf of people who are deaf and hard of hearing.”