UA Board of Regents approves $909.8M operating budget

The University of Alaska Board of Regents meets in Anchorage on June 3, 2016. (Photo by Josh Edge/APRN)
The University of Alaska Board of Regents meets in Anchorage on June 3, 2016. (Photo by Josh Edge/APRN)

The University of Alaska Board of Regents have adopted the system’s $909.8 million operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

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Just under $335 million of that comes from the state.

That means the university system faces a $40 million budget shortfall, rather than the $75 million discussed previously.

“That’s a big difference,” UA President Jim Johnsen said. “So that enables us really to continue investing in some programs. We’re still gonna have to reduce programs; we’re gonna have to reduce people, unfortunately.”

“But this enables us to have a glide path to the future, where we can be much more careful about the reductions we make and it allows us to invest strategically in really high value areas, areas that meet the state’s higher education needs.”

It’s not immediately clear how many jobs will be impacted. But it’s expected to be fewer than the 700-plus positions anticipated under the larger cut.

The board approved the operating budget by a vote of 10-1, with Regent Kenneth Fisher tallying the “no” vote.

The state’s capital appropriation for the university only includes $19 million dollars reallocated from the Municipality of Anchorage for the controversial U-Med Road.

Since the University did not receive funding for the partially-built engineering building on the Fairbanks campus, the board of regents at a future meeting will explore the development of a $40 million bonding package to complete construction.

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Josh is the Statewide Morning News Reporter/Producer for Alaska Public Media | jedge (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8455 | About Josh