The University of Alaska Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Wednesday morning in Fairbanks to discuss budget concerns for the coming fiscal year.
After a conference committee meeting last month on the state’s operating budget, members of the Alaska House and Senate tentatively agreed to cut $5 million from the university’s current state funding level. If the amount remains unchanged, this will leave the university with $322 million coming from the state in fiscal 2020; a seemingly small budget cut compared with the $134 million reduction proposed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy in February.
The governor could still use his line-item veto power to reduce the funding agreed to by the Legislature, however. That possibility has left university administrators in a state of unease.
“The budget uncertainty is very dark and very daunting,” University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen said in a statement earlier this month. “And the veto risk is very high. This uncertainty creates a difficult challenge for us in our ability to operate and our ability to plan.”
According to a university news release Tuesday, if the governor has signed the budget before the board's Wednesday meeting — an unlikely prospect — the board will "accept it and approve a distribution plan." If there is no budget by Wednesday morning, the board will schedule another meeting after the budget is available for review.
While most board meetings are daylong events, this meeting will be held from 9-11 a.m. in room 204 of the Butrovich Building on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.
The meeting is public, but given the special nature of the meeting, public testimony will not be accepted. Members of the public can submit written testimony to the Board of Regents at any time by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those interested can view a livestream of the meeting at: www.alaska.edu/bor/live/.
Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMPolitics.