University and system officials continue to work with legislators toward hammering out a budget for fiscal year 2011, after a Feb. 24 inquiry about what an additional $300 million budget reduction to the University System of Georgia would look like. The request was made by the legislative joint higher education appropriations subcommittee, which met again with system representatives March 3.
Having submitted a worst-case scenario plan in response to the legislative request—one that proposed elimination of numerous university programs and layoffs of 1,413 UGA employees—officials said they would vigorously oppose its implementation.
“When I took this job, I stated that the people of the state of Georgia deserve a flagship institution every bit as good as the citizens of Virginia or Michigan or California or North Carolina,” UGA President Michael F. Adams wrote in his transmittal letter to Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “I still believe that. I fervently hope that the leadership in the state believes it as well.”
As the state considers how to fill a $1 billion hole in the fiscal year 2011 budget, legislators are pondering all options, including an additional $300 million cut to the University System budget on top of the $265 million already proposed for reduction in the governor’s FY11 budget plan. UGA’s share of the proposed cuts totals $110.9 million.
Legislators asked for the plan without consideration of additional formula funding or additional tuition, both of which remain a possibility to mitigate the proposed cuts.
Once the legislature adopts a fiscal year 2011 budget later this month or in April, the board of regents will make allocations to the individual campuses. Only then will UGA officials know precisely the funding with which they have to work for the coming fiscal year.
In a letter to campus March 1, Adams expressed appreciation for the contributions of the university’s faculty and staff.
“Many of you have invested substantial portions of your careers in this university, and I am very grateful to you,” he said. “We will continue to work with the legislature to avoid cuts of this magnitude so as to honor the good work you have done and to protect you and your families.”