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UA Regents approve FY12 budget requests

ANCHORAGE--The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved FY12
operating and capital budgets for the 16-campus system today. The
investment blueprint now goes to Gov. Sean Parnell for consideration.

The board also approved schematic design for the Life Sciences
Classroom and Lab facility in Fairbanks, which voters approved in a
statewide general obligation bond last week.

UA President Pat Gamble's budget targeted $2.3 million to strategic
areas critical to the university's mission, while holding down fixed
costs as much as possible. It emphasizes initiatives that strengthen
student retention and graduation; investments in high-demand health,
biomedical and teacher education programs; and enhancements to UA's
competitive research opportunities in fisheries, energy and the
Arctic.

The budget also includes a 2 percent salary increase for non-unionized
staff to take effect July 1, 2011, followed by an additional 1 percent
increase January 2012.  In addition, the budget includes a 50-cent
hourly increase for student employees.

Not included in the budget at this stage are potential salary
adjustments for UA's four different unions. Those contracts expire at
the end of December and the amounts needed to fund them aren't yet
known. Once agreements are reached, the Legislature would have to
approve the funding.

The university is continuing to find cost savings and efficiencies in
its health-care plan and other fixed costs.

The board agreed to an FY12 capital budget totaling $82.5 million in
state general funds, matched by $130 million in university dollars.
Most of that money would go toward the university's long list of
maintenance and repairs, which includes roof replacements, HVACs,
electrical and other major renewal. The plan includes a $100 million
internally funded bond issue proposed by Gamble that would fast-track
a good chunk of backlogged maintenance. No new construction projects
are proposed.

In other news, the board heard an update from an advisory task force
reviewing a variety of tuition proposals for 2012-2013; action is
expected in December. Board members also enjoyed a working lunch with
Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan.

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