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UA Regents approve FY12 budget requests

The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved FY12 operating and capital budgets for the 16-campus system at its Nov. 9 meeting in Anchorage last month. The investment blueprint now goes to Gov. Sean Parnell for consideration.

The board also approved schematic design for the Life Sciences Classroom and Lab facility in Fairbanks, which voters approved in a statewide general obligation bond last week.

UA President Pat Gamble’s budget targeted $2.3 million to strategic areas critical to the university’s mission, while holding down fixed costs as much as possible. It emphasizes initiatives that strengthen student retention and graduation; investments in high-demand health, biomedical and teacher education programs; and enhancements to UA’s competitive research opportunities in fisheries, energy and the Arctic.

The budget also includes a 2 percent salary increase for non-unionized staff to take effect July 1, 2011, followed by an additional 1 percent increase January 2012.  In addition, the budget includes a 50-cent hourly increase for student employees.

Not included in the budget at this stage are potential salary adjustments for UA’s five different unions. Those contracts expire at the end of December and the amounts needed to fund them aren’t yet known. Once agreements are reached, the Legislature will have to approve the funding.

The university is continuing to find cost savings and efficiencies in its health-care plan and other fixed costs.

The board agreed to an FY12 capital budget totaling $82.5 million in state general funds, matched by $130 million in university dollars. Most of that money would go toward the university’s long list of maintenance and repairs, which includes roof replacements, HVACs, electrical and other major renewal. The plan includes a $100 million internally funded bond issue proposed by Gamble that would fast-track a good chunk of backlogged maintenance, estimated now to exceed $800 million across the entire state. No new construction projects are proposed in the FY12 capital budget.

In other news from the Nov. 9 meeting, the board heard an update from an advisory task force reviewing a variety of tuition proposals for 2012-2013; action is expected at board meeting next week. Board members also enjoyed a working lunch with Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan.

See some photos from the meeting by visiting the Regents' Recap HERE

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