Members of the Iowa Board of Regents are scheduled to consider a new energy surcharge during Tuesday’s meeting in Ames. Regents Executive Secretary Gary Steinke says they’ll consider charging students 100-dollars per semester, beginning in fiscal 2007.
Steinke says the regents requested 40-Million dollars for the universities’ operating budgets, but lawmakers approved only 11-Million. The proposed surcharge would raise 11-Million dolllars, though Steinke says that’d still leave a gap of 18-Million. Steinke says the regents’ budget today is less than it was in 1997, when you compare operating appropriations from the state, and he calls that “frustrating.”
In exchange for the energy surcharge, the regents would agree to a three-year moratorium on requests for capital funding from the state for new construction, not counting projects already underway or getting private funding.
Steinke says there will be “lots of internal re-allocations,” and as much cost-cutting as the presidents can do. He says they’ll get by, and the quality of the schools will not erode, and their leaders will manage the budgets to create the least hardship possible.
The school presidents say they face mandated cost increases and don’t want their educational quality to suffer. Steinke says student leaders are not pleased with the surcharge but he says they understand the need for it.