Budget update: June 19

June 19, 2019

Tori Tragis

— by Dan White, chancellor

Last Thursday evening, the Legislature submitted its state operating budget to the governor for his consideration. He has 20 days, excluding Sundays, to veto any portion of the operating budget.

Your leaders, deans and directors have been planning for a $29 million systemwide reduction and reallocation as described to the Board of Regents on June 6 . The budget reduction and reallocation plan currently contains a $5 million reduction from the state operating budget, as passed by the House and Senate, with an additional $24 million in UA statewide reductions that would be invested back into priorities such as compensation increases for faculty and staff; Title IX staff positions; utility costs; investments in research capacity, teacher education and workforce development programs; and student recruitment and retention initiatives.

UAF’s portion of the reduction and reallocation is $14 million, and we have been planning accordingly. As shown in the BOR documents, if the governor were to propose a deeper cut, up to $40 million, the university systemwide would reallocate $10 million in priorities for a $50 million in total reduction and reallocation. UAF’s portion of this would be $25 million. Because we have already been planning for $14 million, the additional need for reduction would require us to find an additional $11 million. In order to meet this level we would consider program elimination, service-level reductions or furloughs as potential ways to meet budget targets in a short time frame. A furlough could be implemented as a mandatory closure period for specific units or as a reduced workload to be scheduled by employees.

As I have mentioned previously, we have discussed a hiring freeze. While not implemented yet, a hiring freeze remains a tool that could affect all positions supported by Fund One, including administrators, staff and faculty. Any positions directly funded by non-Fund One sources such as grants and contracts would not be affected.

At this point, all we have is the Legislature’s budget and our plans to meet it. I appreciate all of the hard work the deans and directors have been doing to make sure we are prepared for the budget we currently anticipate. Thank you all for the work that you do to make Nanook Nation the world-class university we are!