The legislative short session might start Wednesday, but lawmakers are still waiting to hear recommendations from the Board of Governors before they come to any conclusions about how they’ll fund the UNC system.
During a lunch with media representatives, Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, said the General Assembly will wait until the Board of Governors makes their final recommendations before he starts planning for big cuts.
The system has already absorbed nearly half a billion dollars in cuts since 2011, including about $65 million reduction in the 2013-14 budget.
The NewsLunch was moderated by Professor Ferrel Guillory and hosted by the Program on Public Life, which is run through the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
“I think it’s important that this General Assembly, the new majority, has elected the entire Board of Governors,” said Dollar, the senior chairman for the House Appropriations committee.
“I think there’s a lot of interest in letting them do their work and letting them bring forward proposals and recommendations and letting them do their job.”
It’s still too early to know about budget cuts the system will need to make, but Dollar said he hasn’t heard anything about raising tuition to make up for potential cuts.
"I haven’t heard much talk of tuition increases,” he said. “I’m waiting to see some of the details of what will come out of what the (Board of) Governors say.”
But in the legislative session last summer, the General Assembly handed some UNC-system schools an out-of-state tuition increase ranging from 6 percent to 12.3 percent at UNC. UNC officials had asked for a 2.5 percent — or $700 — increase instead.
In February, the Board of Governors said it will ask the General Assembly to implement its strategic plan initiatives. The board will also ask legislators to repeal the out-of-state tuition increase and to restore some budget reductions.
The board said it will also ask for additional money to improve faculty retention, including funding for distinguished professorships in the system.
The Board of Governors are supposed to present these recommendations to the General Assembly later this month.
“A lot of what (the Board of Governors is) doing is evaluating the entire system,” Dollar said. “I think they’re doing a lot of hard work and I commend them for their efforts and what you’re going to be seeing out of them in the future.”
Earlier this year, the Board of Governors discussed scaling back funding for the state’s historically black colleges and universities — which have seen decreased enrollment numbers in the last few years.
“On the education side, when enrollment goes down, then the state allocation for enrollment drops,” Dollar said.
“The short session is supposed to be about making adjustments to the second year of the biannual budget that’s been passed. So it would certainly be my preference to make those adjustments, just what is actually needed to get the job done, and to address contingencies that have arisen.”
View from the Hill is a political blog by Daily Tar Heel staff writers. Any opinion expressed in it does not represent the Daily Tar Heel. Email the blog coordinator at email@example.com.
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