Sept. 24, 2009

Regents approve state funding request for next year

by Anne Krapfl

The state Board of Regents will seek recurring state funds in FY11 to replace federal stimulus dollars being used to patch together budgets this year at the three regent universities. At its Sept. 17 meeting in Council Bluffs, the board approved the operating budget and capitals budget requests it will send to Gov. Chet Culver for his consideration when he develops his state budget proposal this winter.

Regents coverage

Inside Iowa State's regular coverage of state Board of Regents meetings is available in an online story archive.

Iowa State's budget for the current year includes $31.6 million in one-time federal stimulus funds.

Also in the regents request is state funding for employee salary increases of about 4.7 percent -- or the estimated percentage increase it will cost to honor merit employees' pay raises this year and next in the contract with the American Federation of State, City and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Some regents expressed concern with the size of this proposed increase. There will be more discussion on the salary proposal at subsequent meetings this year.

FY11 capitals budget request

Two of the top six construction or renovation projects the board will request state funding for in FY11 are on the Iowa State campus. The requests include:

  • $38 million for the second part of the biorenewables complex, two wings that would house classrooms, research labs and offices for the agricultural and biosystems engineering department (currently spread at four locations). Phase 1, the biorenewables research laboratory, is under construction now.
  • $0.5 million for planning of a Coover Hall remodel (phase 2 of improvements for the electrical and computer engineering department)

Funding plans for both projects include a second state funding request in FY12 and other non-state funding sources.

The capitals request also includes $48 million for fire, environmental and campus safety needs at the three universities and improvement funds for Iowa Public Radio. Specific allotments to each aren't outlined yet.

In other Iowa State business, the board:

  • Received a summary of Iowa State's partnership role in re-establishing the national Community College Policy Center (with the Academy for Educational Development and the Education Commission of the States). The purpose of the center, which is located at AED in Washington, D.C., is to provide research and information to state and federal legislators on proven practices for positioning community colleges to meet local and regional economic development and education needs. Iowa State's member in the center is the department of educational leadership and policy studies, also home to the office of community college research and policy and the Research Institute for Studies in Education. Current faculty will coordinate center activities, which will be funded by grants and contracts.
  • Approved a third sale of state academic revenue building bonds to partially finance the construction of Hach Hall, this time for $26 million. Previous bond sales in February and October 2008 totaled about $25 million; a final bond sale is anticipated early in 2010 to complete the facility. Nearly $16 million in private gifts also is helping pay for Hach Hall.