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Creeping privatization of higher education

In Colorado, the budget crunch is pounding the state's system of higher education, and leading some to consider privatization:

Colorado may have to solve a $450 million budget crunch in the next three years at the expense of the state's colleges and universities, a legislative budget writer warned Friday.

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He intends to propose cutting $150 million from higher education in the 2004-05 budget, $200 million in the following year and $100 million in the third year.

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"In order to avoid the problem of the tuition coming in and creating TABOR (Taxpayer's Bill of Rights) problems for us, I would propose that we turn CU first of all into an enterprise."

That action, which also was considered last year, would free the university from current constitutional fiscal restrictions. It also would prevent any income that the school makes from being counted against the state's revenue restrictions.

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Teck originally was looking at "privatizing" the University of Colorado, but he said discussions with CU President Betsy Hoffman convinced him to back off on that. She says the university would lose many of the protections it now has as a state-run institution if that were to occur.

Piece by piece, this country's commitment to ensuring the equality of opportunity crumbles. How bad will it have to get before we collectively say "Enough!"