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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“UA sustains $15.8 million cut, but employees safe from furlough “

Gov. Jan Brewer signed off on a $40 million cut to the state’s three public universities on Friday, ending the higher education standoff between the Governor’s Office and the State Legislature that began early in the summer.

The cuts include $15.8 million from the UA, $18.1 million from Arizona State University and $6.1 million from Northern Arizona University, said Andrea Smiley, the Arizona Board of Regents’ associate executive director for Public Affairs.

“”This is what we had been anticipating,”” she said.

The cuts do not include sweeps from private university funds. The universities’ three presidents and the Board of Regents had threatened to sue the State Legislature if fund sweeps were carried out.

The legislature had approved an additional $50 million in fund sweeps from state universities in June, a measure that was instantly vetoed by the governor.

University officials had been concerned that fund sweeps could have disqualified Arizona’s universities from federal stimulus money by violating the “”maintenance of effort”” condition, President Robert Shelton told the Daily Wildcat in June.

In order for states to receive federal stimulus money, they must show a “”maintenance of effort”” in financial support for state higher education. The sweeps would have take money from non-state-supported funding sources within the university system, thus showing a possible failure of the “”maintenance of effort,”” according to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was signed by President Barack Obama in February.

Brewer formally applied for the federal stimulus money specifically for education on June 5, $146 million of which goes to the universities. Of that amount, $56 million is slated to go to the UA.

No furloughs for UA employees

UA employees will not be forced to take unpaid time off this year, contrary to what university officials had expected going into the school year, according to an e-mail message sent to faculty and staff from President Robert Shelton on Tuesday.

Prior to the current fiscal year, the President’s Office told faculty and staff to plan for furloughs, but not to schedule them until September at the earliest, Shelton said in the e-mail.

“”When we were preparing for the current fiscal year, it was unclear whether the state would accept federal stimulus funding,”” he said. “”In anticipation of further budget cuts for the FY10 year, furloughs became a necessary component of efforts to balance our budget.””

Shelton stressed that the UA is not completely saved from its financial problems by the federal stimulus money that has been given to the university.

“”While critically important to our budget for this year, they do not resolve the more fundamental long-term issues that result from the state appropriation reductions,”” Shelton said. “”They do, however, make it possible to eliminate the furloughs that had been planned for this year.””

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