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Board of Regents Approves a 3.6% Budget Increase Request For University System

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Atlanta — September 10, 1997

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia today (September 10, 1997) approved and forwarded to Governor Zell Miller its proposed Fiscal Year 1999 operating and capital budgets.

The proposed $1,286,576,988 “A” Budget covers general operations and instruction at the System’s 34 institutions, and funds new initiatives that would strengthen System-wide efforts in the areas of instructional technology, repair and renovation of buildings, student preparation for college and economic development.

The Regents’ proposed “A” Budget is a 3.6 percent increase over the current Fiscal Year 1998 budget. Fiscal Year 1999 budget guidelines permit a maximum increase of 4.5 percent.

Also approved was a proposed $186,816,454 in funding for the “B” budget, which covers operations other than student instruction, such as the Cooperative Extension Service, the agricultural experiment stations and the Medical College of Georgia Hospitals and Clinics, among others. The proposed budget is a 3.5 percent increase over Fiscal Year 1998.

Also submitted to the Governor is a capital budget request for 46 major, minor and payback building projects. The proposed major capital projects priority list totals 27 projects ($486,523,000), the minor capital projects list has 17 projects ($55,936,000), and the payback projects list has two projects ($19,750,000).

“This request supports the Board’s strategic goals and the comprehensive plan adopted in July 1997,” said Chancellor Stephen Portch. “This system has made considerable progress in recent years with the support of Governor Miller and the General Assembly. Our request reflects the Board’s awareness of the limits of the State’s resources and the responsibility elected officials have in allocating revenues, yet these funds would help us maximize and build upon the gains we have made in providing a superior system of public higher education.”

Highlights of the proposed University System “A” Budget include:

  • a request for $8 million to increase the state’s major repair and renovation funding factor (currently 71% of the University System’s 2,815 buildings are more than 20 years old);
  • a request for $8 million to sustain and utilize previous investments in technology, including equipment maintenance, the upgrade of obsolete equipment and software, and staff support of technology;
  • a request for $2.8 million for the “Partners in Success” initiative ($1 million to expand the Post-secondary Readiness Enrichment [PREP] program that provides academic readiness programs and $800,000 to expand a mentoring program to middle school children in at-risk situations; $200,000 to implement a prognostic mathematics test in the junior year of high school; and $800,000 to support residential academies for talented high school students);
  • a request for $1 million to increase the production of students to work in computer and information technology as part of the Governor’s Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP);
  • a request for $2 million to develop and pilot an innovative statewide desktop distance learning network which will meet the educational needs of working professionals throughout Georgia;
  • a 5 percent ($68 million) redirection of the Fiscal Year 1998 budget to comply with the Governor’s redirection policy.

Highlights of the “B” budget include:

  • a 5 percent redirection of funds of approximately $6 million;
  • a request for approximately $6.4 million to enhance programs at the agricultural experiment stations ($1,787,463), the Medical College of Georgia hospital and clinics ($1,512,387); the cooperative extension service ($1,448,250), the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)/Economic Development Institute (EDI) ($848,000), the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) ($278,509), Skidaway Institute of Oceanography ($72,900), and $452,000 for all other “B” budget programs.

The Board also expressed enthusiastic support for the Governor’s commitment to provide an average six percent merit salary adjustment for University System faculty and staff. The six percent increase in Fiscal Year 1999 would place Georgia institutions in an increasingly favorable position for faculty recruitment and retention and could move Georgia into first place for salaries in the 15-state Southern Regional Education Board region.

The Board of Regents’ proposed budget will be submitted to Governor Zell Miller for his consideration as he prepares his proposal for the overall state budget to be submitted to the Georgia General Assembly in January 1998.

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