University of Alaska regents consider $351.5M budget
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — University of Alaska officials are considering a proposed operating budget of $351.5 million for the next fiscal year.
The university’s board of regents settled on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 during a two-day meeting in Juneau last week, increasing it by $24.5 million from the current budget, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .
Regents identified the university’s budgeting needs during a June retreat. In settling on the budget number last week, the officials considered how the university could organize to be successful 20 years into the future.
“The draft budget was co-created with the three universities with your vision in mind,” university President Jim Johnsen said during the meeting. “And in all discussions, the question of where we want to be and what we want to be in 2040 was a powerful perspective that led us to the budget request before you today.”
The regents also proposed a capital budget that includes $50 million for the university’s deferred maintenance and $5 million for the USArray program, a system of seismic sensors that collects data on ground movement across the state.
Part of the proposed budget increase is aimed at meeting state needs and for the university to serve as an economic booster, including costs associated with job growth, education culture, climate change research, teacher retention, health care costs and energy costs.
“Everything we do is to be rooted in serving the needs of the state,” Johnsen said.
The state Legislature last session increased funding for the university by $10 million to $327 million. The increase is the first since the 2014 fiscal year.
“I’m thrilled to know we are a university that is oriented to the future,” Regent Deena Bishop said. “I want to say to the state of Alaska that, if you invest in Alaska education, you will get the best possible outcome. We are worth the investment.”
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com