October 30, 2009

Regents opt to continue budget discussions

For Immediate Release
Friday, Oct. 30, 2009

FAIRBANKS---The University of Alaska Board of Regents talked programs, projects and budgets Friday but delayed taking action on a preliminary FY11 operating and capital budget in favor of additional discussions with the budget office of Gov. Sean Parnell.

Regents took an extra half-hour of testimony, as numerous members of the public testified, most in favor of the proposed Life Sciences Building at the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. Supporters included Fairbanks City Mayor Terry Strle, Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce board member and architect Jack Wilbur, family practice Dr. Jean Tsigonis and many others.

Tom Paragi is a Fish and Game research biologist who took personal time to speak in favor of the Life Sciences project, which has appeared on the board’s capital projects list for each of the last 10 budget cycles. Paragi earned his degree in wildlife management at UAF in the 1980s.

“Hunting and wildlife viewing industries contribute substantially to business and employment, disproportionately so in rural areas. Maintaining and growing the Biology and Wildlife program at UAF is one of the best investments Alaska can make to ensure the future sustainability of our state’s valuable wildlife resources,” he said.

The preliminary UA budget for operation of the multi-campus system seeks $350.8 million from the state’s general fund for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010. That funding level would be matched by $514.6 million in university generated income, including federal grants, tuition, fees and other sources. The draft budget emphasizes programs in energy, science, technology, engineering and math; climate;
high-demand job training; and student success initiatives.

The capital budget request, as currently drafted, would include money for system-wide facility renewal and renovation; construction of the UAF Life Sciences facility; planning and design for engineering facilities at UAA and UAF; a feasibility study for community campus facility needs; and the university system’s deferred maintenance, system-wide.

When the board will meet to take action on the budget isn't known yet.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the University of Alaska Anchorage.


For more information, call Kate Ripley at 907/450-8102 or 907/388-3506.