The University Of Alaska President, Jim Johnsen, joined the system's Board Of Regents today for a special meeting to further discuss the Fiscal Year 2018 operating budget.
On Wednesday, the legislative operating budget conference committee set the university's operating budget at 317 million dollars in unrestricted general funds.
This is an 8 million dollar cut from last year's operating budget.
However, this 317 million dollar budget still needs to be approved by the state legislature.
The proposed operating budget scenario would leave an 11 million dollar budget gap, after factoring in fixed cost increases.
The university's plan to manage this gap will be to rely on continued reductions and reallocations, while maintaining investment in strategic priorities.
Some of these strategic investment areas are student success and enrollment, research, work force development, and process improvement.
President Johnsen spoke about the importance of investing in these strategic priorities.
"When you look at year by year by year the number of dollars that are not coming to the university, that cumulative impact, is huge and no wonder 933 fewer faculty and staff are here. Because we're being cut, we've got to keep investing in our high priorities otherwise it's just this downward spiral continues and continues with all of the people, programs and other implications of that decline."
The Board of Regents also approved a budget contingency option in the unlikely event that a state operating budget is not passed by July 1st.
This will allow U-A System President Jim Johnsen, to receive an advance on the F-Y '18 appropriation from the state Office of Management and Budget.
The authorization is necessary in order to maintain constitutionally and legally mandated university functions if the budget impasse were to continue into fiscal year 2018.