Capitol Live: Dunleavy makes announcement with UA representatives

Governor makes announcement in Anchorage.

Summary: The governor and the board of regents have come to an agreement which will allow the university to make its cuts over a number of years and will, for the time being, only reduce the university’s budget by $25 million. The Board of Regents will meet in September to further examine the re-configuration of the UA system towards a single-accreditation model. The compact signed by the governor and the Board of Regents can be found here.

2 p.m.

The governor has expressed disappointment with “outcomes” at the University, what are some changes that might affect those outcomes?

Look at the goals that the Board of Regents has laid out, each of those goals will produce an outcome, for example the number of health care workers trained and I think the goals are working towards positive outcomes.

Davies: There are many overlooked outcomes that might not produce a quantitative amount but one needs only go to rural areas to see profound outcomes the university produces.

Will there be continued job loss?

There have been a number of job losses already but cut backs will come in many forms, for example not hiring, less travel, and consolidation of roles.

What’s going to be done to preserve research capabilities?

Keep investing in it, is the short answer. Research is a crucial component of any university and it yields a number of benefits including outside investment.

Still support a single accreditation?

Johnsen: It’s a decision for the board but I believe that model would best allocate resources and allow the university to achieve its goals in terms of prioritizing student outcomes.

$25 million is still a cut. What’s on the top of the chopping block?

Davies: We will prioritize student programs as much as we can. We’re going to look at administrative solutions but that can only take us so far.

Johnsen: $25 is still a very serious cut but this is the first of several over the next couple years.

Are you still in favor of a single accreditation model?

Johnsen: That model would better allocate resources but that decision will be made at a later date.

What does this mean for the financial exigency declaration?

Johnsen: That’s a decision for the Board of Regents. The regents have the ability to revoke that decision but that’s their call.

1:27 p.m. Dunleavy has left but university representatives remain to answer questions from the press. Respondents answers have been paraphrased and should not be read as direct quotes.

How will this affect the PFD?

I’ve never coupled the PFD with spending, that’s been done that by people who want to see the PFD done away with.

If revenues from oil continue to fall would your stand on state income tax change?

That would probably be the last revenue source I would want to look at. We need to look at our our spending first.

Will you be looking at alternative revenues?

We’re going to look at inefficiencies within the existing state budget before looking to alternative revenue streams.

The governor says that the state has being dealing with the “spectre” of financial instability for many years now and that this result is the result of a long process.

Do you feel like you owe some Alaskans an apology?

The governor begins by saying that this reporter always asks the same question whenever they meet.

His intent was not to cause angst, but to force a conversation about what the state really needs. The vetoes got the state where they are today in being able to make these reductions, Dunleavy said.

The steps the university has agreed to will make UA a better university, the governor says. This is just the begining, and he hopes that the university will continue to work with the administration.

What has changed and how has the recall effort affected the changes?

We looked at the fiscal situation, Dunleavy says, and the step-down program has been a discussion over several years. The university needs to be part of the cut backs that are occurring across the state.

Questions from the media

Davies and the governor are currently signing the compact for a three-year glide-path plan.

1:12 p.m.

President Johnsen says that this is an opportunity to shift to the positive. He has been working through the Board of Regents’ five strategic goals and that the glide-path plan allows for three years to make the transition to a single university model.

Johnsen says there is no great state without a great university.

1:10 a.m.

Dunleavy says that his administration has come to an agreement with the University for funding for the next three years.

He says the University is “near and dear” to his heart.

Chair Davies says the agreement is a “glide-path” plan to achieve budget stability over the next three years. The governor’s supplemental budget has provided a great deal more certainty than previously existed.

The board will review the budget proposals for “one UA” when it meets in September, Davies says.

1:05 p.m.

Dunleavy, UA Board of Regents Chair John Davies and UA President Jim Johnsen are scheduled to make an announcement regarding the funding for the University of Alaska at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

1:02 p.m.

Summary: Gov. Mike Dunleavy has announced that education funds appropriated in House Bill 2001 will not be vetoed. He said that he made the vetoes in the first place in order to force a conversation about what Alaskans valued most. Through public feedback his administration determined that some of the things Alaskans wanted to see funded were senior benefits and education programs.

The governor said that his intention with the vetoes was not to inflict harm but to force Alaskans to identify the programs they felt were most essential.

The governor’s office said in a press release that the governor, University of Alaska Board of Regents Chair John Davies and UA President Jim Johnsen will make an announcement regarding the University of Alaska system Tuesday at 1 p.m.

11:05 a.m.

Started to get feedback from all over Alaska, we didn’t dismiss any of that feedback. Funding for Head Start and pre-K will be in the budget and retroactive until July 1.

What became clear, he says, is that Alaskans value our seniors and our children.

He says that his administration is willing to work with the legislature and the public to resolve the ongoing fiscal crisis.

Questions from the media in-person at the press conference.

Why did this in the first place. We’ve already have educators quit. Why create all this chaos?

“We wanted to do this sooner, we wanted to have this done in April. We have a $1.6 billion reduction. We needed to have a conversation with Alaskans.”

He says that it was necessary that this conversation happen.

Do you regret vetoing in the first place?

“You don’t get to this point unless you veto. You don’t have this conversation unless you veto. I’ve been in the legislature and most people think that it’s not going to happen, that we’re going to be saved by oil prices.”

Could this be vetoed next year?

“My hope is that we don’t have to have this conversation next year, but a drop in the price in oil could force that conversation.”

Why did you think it was important to restore early-learning programs.

Because of the public feedback. Seniors are valued, children are valued.

Do you think part of the solution could be revenue increases?

“Budget could include new revenues but there are still inefficiencies within the budget needs to resolved.”

We had to find a way to get Alaskans to decide what is really important to them, the governor said.


Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or psegall@juneauempire.com.


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