Regents Accept and Approve Distribution of FY16 Operating and Capital Budgets
The Board of Regents held an emergency meeting Tuesday to respond to Legislative operating and capital appropriations. Available regents voted 7-0 to accept and approve the distribution of the FY16 Operating and Capital budgets for the University of Alaska system. Regents also acknowledged that the budget for the state as a whole includes a $29.8 million unallocated reduction that Governor Walker must spread across all Executive Branch agencies. It is unknown at this time how much of that reduction will be passed on to UA.
Even without the additional reduction to be allocated by the governor, the net state General Fund portion of UA’s Operating Budget decreased by $14.8 million over FY 15’s already reduced levels ($370.6M to $355.8M). However, adding annual operating cost increases, UA’s total funding gap is estimated at over $46 million.
The Legislature’s final budget includes compensation adjustments for non-represented employees as well as adjustments agreed upon in collective bargaining agreements (CBA). The Board’s budget provides for CBA adjustments, a 2.5% adjustment for non-represented employees, as well as a pay freeze and furloughs for officers and senior administrators.
“This is a tough budget,” Gamble told the Regents during the emergency meeting, “and we have been hard at work coming up with budget scenarios to make this work.”
Addressing concerns about the potential impact to personnel, Gamble explained that while there will be some layoffs as well as program reductions and closures, the majority of the savings this year will be found by utilizing attrition and finding innovative ways to meet expenses beyond personnel cuts. More information on the impact to the overall university budget as well as cuts to the individual universities will be shared once the governor determines the final reduction.
The capital budget contained only $3 million in deferred maintenance funding out of the $50 million requested by the Board. A number of regents expressed concern that over time, the university would be risking its critical infrastructure absent adequate maintenance funding.