Sunday, March 22, 2009

Update on March 20 joint subcommittee hearing on Higher Ed budget

The upshot was that it did not go as we might have hoped, as the System's opposition to the Governor's request for a waiver from the federal government of the requirements for education spending to qualify for stimulus dollars was rejected by the legislative leaders.

Legislators wanted to see a plan to implement some degree of cuts that would restore our budget to 2006 levels but not above. That would be, depending on which story one reads, a cut of 16 - 18% for NSHE compared with 2007.

There was agreement that there should be a priority of "no layoffs for professors" (in the words of Speaker Buckley) and that the cuts should be distributed equally among institutional budgets.

In response, the System will now be drawing up an alternative budget at 2006 spending levels.

Meanwhile, Governor Gibbons' attempt to reject stimulus funds for unemployment benefits is being opposed in the legislature. Which raises the prospect of what will happen if his request fora waiver from educational funding standards is declined by the federal Department of Education, which would make the state ineligible for a much larger share of stimulus money?

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