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University of Alaska regents approve budget request that relies on more state money

  • Author: Tegan Hanlon
  • Updated: November 9
  • Published November 9

The University of Alaska Board of Regents has approved an operating budget request for next academic year that relies on about $31.5 million more in state funding, according to a statement Friday from the public university system.

In total, regents are asking Alaska lawmakers for $358.5 million to fund UA's operating budget for the 2019-20 academic year. This year, lawmakers appropriated about $327 million, down from about $375 million four years earlier.

"Competitive compensation and benefits for our employees is extremely important," UA President Jim Johnsen said in Friday's statement.

"There's not been a full court analysis of compensation and benefits in many years, and no salary increases in nearly three years," he said. "This undertaking is very important to the recruitment and retention of our most important and valuable university resource — our people."

Other focuses in the operating budget include graduating more teachers and health care professionals, the statement said. The UA system includes universities in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau, as well as campuses and colleges across the state.

UA regents on Thursday also approved a 2019-20 capital budget request that included $57 million in state funds, $50 million of that for deferred maintenance.

The budget requests come days after Alaska voters elected a new governor. Republican Mike Dunleavy, who will succeed Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, has said he supports cutting the state budget. Asked at a Nov. 1 debate on KTVA about whether he supported cuts to UA, Dunleavy said: "No plans. Get them land grants for funding."

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