Sense of relief as cuts to UA system are less than expected

first_imgThe University of Alaska learned it would face cuts, even though UA president Jim Johnsen said the cuts were less than expected.Listen nowSpeaking at a special regents meeting, President Johnsen reflected on a 317 million dollar allocation included in the yet to be finalized legislative budget compromise.”There are no high-fives here,” Johnsen said. “I think I can say there’s a sense of relief that the number is not 303 or a $22 million cut. The number is not 309. There’s the likelihood that we’ll continue operations. So that’s a positive. So it’s more a sense of relief than of celebration.”The last reference is to a now unlikely state government shutdown, that would have effected university operations. The $317 million state allocation is $8 million less than last year’s funding, and Johnsen said UA will be $11 million short when compensation and other cost increases are accounted for. He said the situation means another tuition increase, continued program and service reductions, but also investment in focused areas.”We’ve got to keep investing in our high priorities,” Johnsen said. “Otherwise, it just… this downward spiral continues and continues with all of the people, program and other implications of that decline. And so I think it’s critically important that we try to, again, take a deep breath, manage through these reductions and then really focus on investment and growth.”Areas targeted for $6 million in investment, include enrollment, marketing and advertising, workforce and on line development, and automation. Johnsen also spoke to concern about yet to be finalized state capital funding, noting that UA is again budgeting for $45.9 million in deferred maintenance.UA is hosting town hall budget meetings at its three main campuses on Friday.Regents are scheduled to meet again on the 27th to approve an FY18 spending plan.last_img

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