Money talks at Board of Regents meeting

By Daniel Thoman and Ben Deering
Sun Star Reporters

The Board of Regents met Nov. 9 to discuss a wide variety of issues, including raising both tuition and the budget for the next school year. The regents spoke with Gov. Sean Parnell and Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan and took public testimony during their meeting.

A prominent item on the regents’ agenda was the subject of tuition increase. In October, the regents voted down a proposed 5 percent increase but declined to vote on the passage of a second increase of between 6 and 9 percent. The regents discussed the possible increase but decided not to take action on it until the December meeting at the earliest.

The budget for the university was another item discussed. The regents called several executive sessions, which are not open to the public. Executive sessions allow the regents to discuss controversial or confidential matters, but all votes must be made during public session.  The university has a lot more money to throw around thanks to the passage of Proposition B on Nov. 2. The first use of that money will go toward groundbreaking on the long anticipated life sciences building here at UAF. Another anticipated use of that money is to pay for deferred maintenance projects, making much-needed repairs on many of UAF’s aging structures.

Gov. Parnell requested that the university submit a tentative budget for the near future. He also wanted to see that the deferred maintenance projects are worked on.

The portion of UAF staff not currently represented by a union will see an increase in pay, with a 2 percent increase across the board this upcoming year, and a 1 percent increase the year after. The money will come from within the system and not from the general obligation bonds voters approved. The board also approved a 50-cent increase in wages for student employees, to go into effect in the next fiscal year.

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