The three state supported universities presented their plans for budget cuts to the State Board of Regents today. Those cuts included a sweeping reorganization of the Iowa State University Extension Department.
I.S.U. President Greg Geoffrey explained they will cut the current 97 extension directors to 20, and reduce the extension administration on the Ames campus.Geoffrey says the reorganization will save almost $5 million — which prompted Regent Michael Gartner to ask when it’ll happen.
Geoffrey says they can get the new organization in place and have the 20 regional directors appointed in about 20 months. Regent Craig Lange, who also heads the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, says he likes the extension changes.
Geoffrey says every effort is being made to spare the 4-H program from the budget cuts.
Regents president David Miles says the state budget cuts are further reducing the revenue available to the universities — and for the first time the schools are now depending more on student tuition than state appropriations.
Miles says federal stimulus money for education is allowing the universities to "dodge a bullet" — but it’s not ‘business as usual."
"To those who see our present good fortune and conclude the day of reckoning will not come, I say nothing could be further from the truth," Miles says, "what we have been granted is an opportunity to prepare for more challenging times that lie ahead."
Miles says he doesn’t favor raising tuition just yet. Other budget measures include early retirements for faculty and staff, fewer course choices for Iowa State students and larger classes at the University of Iowa.