The board that governs the three state-supported universities talked about the budget prospects for the next year at its meeting in Cedar Falls today. Board of Regents member Michael Gartner of Des Moines, offered a stark assessment of the chances for increased money from the state.
Gartner says state receipts are down 23% from last year, "and there’s no indication, despite what some of the Democrats are saying…that it is turning around." Gartner says the financial situation won’t be changing anytime soon. "I think it’s going to be an extraordinarily difficult year, and we’re not going to be able to look at the legislature for much of an increase if anything, and we’re going to be lucky if we hold steady," Gartner said.
Gartner’s comments prompted Regents President David Miles to respond, "Other comments? Anyone that wants to be less gloomy is particularly invited to press the button," Miles said. Miles went on to say that Gartner’s comments are something that they have to take into account.
Miles says as they start thinking about the budget for next year they have to be cognizant of the kinds of challenges the state faces that Gartner reminded them of. He says they have to continue to make the case that to continue to maintain quality higher education, there has to be continued investment over the years.
The University of Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa, got budget help this past fiscal year from stimulus money. But that money is not expected to be available again for the next budget.
An official with University of Iowa Hospitals told the Board of Regents today that they’ve cut 285 jobs in response to the economic downturn. The job cuts included 137 layoffs. Earlier this year, hospital employees took voluntary pay cuts to trim 4.3 million dollars from the hospital’s budget.
University of Northern Iowa officials say some 100 employees have been approved for early retirement. Over 100 applied before the July 31st deadline.