UW Trustees Approve Supplemental Budget Request
The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees Monday approved a supplemental budget request for the 2015-16 fiscal year that includes dollars to match private donations for academics and athletics, as well as to expand outreach programs in nursing and counselor education.
The board voted unanimously to send the request to Gov. Matt Mead, who will present a proposed supplemental budget to the Wyoming State Legislature for consideration during its general session early next year.
“This supplemental budget request represents our top priorities in addressing the key opportunities and challenges facing the university at mid-biennium,” UW President Dick McGinity says. “We’re particularly excited about the opportunity for more public-private partnerships to further enhance teaching and research at UW. It’s a formula that has proven to be extremely successful, and we hope the state’s elected leaders will continue to support this approach.”
The largest request from UW is for $25 million in state funding to match private donations, continuing a highly successful program that has generated tens of millions of dollars for important university initiatives in recent years. Of that total $25 million, $12.5 million would be available to match private gifts in a variety of disciplines; $10 million would match private gifts for an entrepreneurship initiative in the College of Business; and $2.5 million would match additional private giving for UW’s new Literacy Research Center and Clinic.
In addition, the board is seeking $4 million in state funding to match private donations to UW’s Department of Athletics to enhance the competitiveness of UW’s intercollegiate athletics programs. UW is preparing to respond to expected changes in NCAA regulations regarding student-athlete scholarships and benefits, in addition to enhancing recruiting and nutritional and other services to student-athletes.
The university also asks for a change in a $2 million appropriation for athletics matching funds approved by the 2014 Legislature -- from a $2 private, $1 state funds basis to a dollar-for-dollar match.
A request of $805,746 in annual recurring dollars is included in the proposed supplemental budget to support the Revolutionizing Nursing Education in Wyoming (ReNEW) program, which would allow nurses with associate’s degrees to pursue registered nursing bachelor’s degrees without having to come to Laramie. UW has developed the program in cooperation with Wyoming’s community colleges. The request would allow for, among other things, the hiring of eight new faculty members to be located at each community college.
Meanwhile, a request for $193,656 annually in recurring dollars would allow for the University of Wyoming at Casper to re-establish its master’s degree program in counselor education, to meet employment needs in the mental health and education fields in Casper and around the state. The funding would cover two faculty positions and other support services at UW-Casper.
UW’s top priority in the supplemental budget is a request for $1 million in recurring funding annually to allow the university to retain top faculty and staff members through targeted salary increases. The money would not be distributed across the board.
Other items included in UW’s supplemental budget request are:
-- $750,000 in recurring funding annually to cover increased maintenance and utilities costs for new facilities at UW, including the new Energy Innovation Center, the Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility and the planned High Bay Research Facility.
-- $250,000 in recurring funding annually for personnel and materials to assure environmental health and safety as a result of the increasing sophistication of technology and research in new UW buildings.
-- $1 million in one-time funding to improve UW’s information technology infrastructure.
-- $500,000 in one-time funding to begin planning for acquisition and equipping of a new UW research aircraft.
The board decided not to include a request for one-time dollars to expand and renovate UW’s competitive swimming facility, Corbett Pool, after revised construction estimates showed that the project would cost significantly more than an earlier estimate of $21 million.
Meanwhile, the supplemental budget request does note the possibility of UW seeking planning dollars for expected facilities improvements related to the university’s Science Initiative; recurring funding for a planned change to a centralized fiscal management and accounting system; and funding to cover possible increased construction costs related to the High Bay Research Facility project. No specific dollar amounts have yet been identified for those items.