The Legislature adjourned Sine Die on July 8. It voted to fund the Oregon University System for the 2013-15 biennium at $744,846,365, about $11 million below current service levels, in HB 5031. It includes $38 million for a newly renamed area called “State programs” that encompasses programs with a statewide mission; this includes the Labor Education Research Center (LERC), dispute resolution programs, and clinical legal education, among other UO programs. The budget includes $8,000,000 from the Sports Lottery Account, but limits the University of Oregon and Oregon State University to receiving a maximum of $1,000,000 each from the fund. Programs such as the Oregon Bach Festival, Jordan Schnitzer Art Museum, Museum of Natural and Cultural History continue to be funded at current service levels.
President Michael Gottfredson, ASUO leadership, and students, faculty, staff, and alumni were active in advocacy for higher education funding. President Gottfredson testified before the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education representing Oregon’s research universities in March. More about the budget is available in a June 18 article.
A last minute budget reconciliation bill (SB 5008) includes an additional $15 million for the Oregon University System to reduce tuition increases and an $80,000 in funding for LERC, bringing overall funding for LERC to $656,867, its current service level.
The Legislature approved $239,665,000 in bonds for University of Oregon projects in the capital construction budget, SB 5506.
The UO received funding for seven projects:
- Straub and Earl Halls classrooms expansion: approved $11,000,000 Article XI-G bonds to expand and remodel two existing buildings to add classroom capacity and address deferred maintenance needs. Gift and grant revenues will be used as match for the Article XI-G bonds.
- Science Commons and Research Library expansion and remodel: approved $8,375,000 Article XI-G bonds to remodel the existing underground library and construct an above ground expansion for instruction and research. UO will match the Article XI-G bonds with gifts and donations.
- Museum of Natural and Cultural History (MNCH) collections storage project: $990,000 Article XI-Q bonds for equipment and exhibition space needs.
- Student Recreation Center expansion and renovation: approved $50,250,000 Article XI-F (1) bonds to renovate and expand the existing student recreation center. Debt service on the Article XI-F (1) bonds will be paid with a new $38 per term student building fee approved in a fall 2012 student referendum.
- Erb Memorial Student Union expansion and renovation: approved $84,300,000 Article XI-F (1) bonds to renovate and expand the existing Erb Memorial Union that houses student organizations and programs, student government, multicultural programs, and food and other retail operations. Debt service on the Article XI-F (1) bonds will be paid with a new $69 per term student building fee approved in a fall 2012 student referendum.
- University Housing expansion: approved $84,750,000 Article XI-F (1) bonds to construct four separate housing facilities with approximately 800 beds. Revenues from housing rents and retail food service will be used to pay debt service on the Article XI-F (1) bonds.
Vice President for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt provided testimony to the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Capital Construction. The Science Commons, EMU and MNCH projects were added by amendment to the Governor’s recommended capital construction proposal.
State Representative Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene) also helped the Museum of Natural and Cultural History to secure $990,000 in support related to the museum’s statewide mission and funding for collections storage.