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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Jan. 18, 2008

Salary and economic development funds among budget requests to Legislature

by Anne Krapfl

Full state funding of salary increases next July, dollars to tackle additional deferred maintenance projects, and restoring Iowa State's economic development appropriation to its fiscal year 2000 level are among the university's budget priorities in the Iowa Legislature this year.

These funding requests are for the year that will begin July 1.

The Legislature convened Jan. 14 and is expected to wrap up its work by April 22. Gov. Culver outlined his proposed budget to a joint session of the Senate and House Jan. 15. The governor's budget numbers typically are the upper limit of what university leaders could expect to receive through the legislative process, said Ellen Rasmussen, associate vice president for budget and planning. Details of Culver's budget for higher education weren't available at press time.

Salary funds

Iowa State will seek full state funding of faculty and staff salary increases awarded with the start of the new fiscal year. Last year, for the first time in about a half-dozen years, regent university salary increases were included in the state salary appropriation, so university leaders didn't have to cover salary increases with new tuition revenues, general operating appropriations from the state or reallocations. ISU salary increases are expected to be included in the salary appropriation this year as well.

For the second year, Iowa State also will seek additional salary funds to improve the competitiveness of faculty salaries in the higher education marketplace. In FY09, each additional 1 percent salary increase for ISU faculty will cost $1.4 million. In the current fiscal year, approximately 6.5 percent was added to the faculty salary base. (Peer universities added between 4 percent and 8 percent to their faculty salaries this year; more precise data will be available this spring.) In addition to annual salary increases to be awarded in July, university leaders hope to add 3.5 percent to the faculty salary base.

"One of our highest priorities is to ensure that our faculty receive salaries that are competitive with similar positions in the marketplace, especially at our peer universities," said president Gregory Geoffroy. "Competitive salaries are critical to keeping outstanding members of our faculty and hiring excellent new members."

Economic development funds

Iowa State will seek about $6.2 million from the state's FY09 economic development appropriation, about $3.4 million above the $2.8 million it received for the current fiscal year. Such an increase actually would restore base economic development funding, which had experienced several years of state budget cuts, to FY2000 levels.

These are annual operating funds that would be distributed to the units whose budgets absorbed the cuts earlier: Institute for Physical Research and Technology (an increase of $2.5 million), the Small Business Development Centers ($770,000) and the ISU Research Park ($230,000).

These funds would be permanent and thus different from economic development funding lines such as the Grow Iowa Values Fund, a 10-year plan to provide one-time funds to spur economic development in the state.

More than half of the proposed new funds would be used to restore positions in these units, primarily P&S, to provide better service to their clients.

Deferred maintenance

The three regent universities will seek a total of $50 million in state funding in FY09 for fire safety and deferred maintenance projects. Rasmussen said a distribution formula isn't set yet, but it likely could be in proportion to the size of each school's deferred maintenance list. State budget cuts from FY2000 to FY04 increased the universities' deferred maintenance lists; last winter university officials reported more than $460 million in deferred maintenance and fire safety deficiencies on the three campuses.

Rasmussen said ISU Facilities Planning and Management maintains campus priority lists by category (such as roofs, elevators, electrical). In the last year, the budget team also has asked vice presidents and deans to identify critical facilities-related needs that hamper their ability to achieve the university's mission.

"Deferred maintenance, in addition to fire safety requirements, is a long-standing issue for us," Geoffroy noted. "Any progress we can make in this area each year is good for Iowa State."

New math, science education initiative

The three regent universities will seek a total of $5.5 million in new funding to launch the "Mathematics and Science Education Collaborative Initiative." The request is the first of a five-year proposal. The initiative has several goals, including:

  • Increase the number and quality of PreK-12 math and science teaching majors graduating from the regent universities.
  • Retain math and science teachers in Iowa.
  • Improve the performance of Iowa's PreK-12 students in math and science.
  • Produce more math and science instructors for Iowa's community colleges.

Culver said Jan. 15 his proposed budget supports this initiative.

The University of Northern Iowa is the lead university for the initiative. Rasmussen said it's not known yet how funds would be distributed to the three universities.


"One of our highest priorities is to ensure that our faculty receive salaries that are competitive with similar positions in the marketplace, especially at our peer universities."

President Gregory Geoffroy