June 11, 2009
Statement from UNC President Erskine
Bowles Regarding N.C. House 2009-2011 Draft Budget
UNC President Erskine Bowles today (June 11, 2009) issued the following
statement on the draft 2009-11 state budget that is under consideration in
the North Carolina House:
"We are extremely grateful
that House members made the very difficult decision to recommend a modest
revenue package to help balance the State budget and thereby lessen deep
cuts to education and other critical State services. The revenue package
added to the House budget today would restore about $75 million of the cuts
that had previously been assigned to the University in the first year of the
biennium. As a result, our proposed net funding reduction for 2009-10 under
the House plan would drop from $338 million (11.2%) to $263 million (8.7%).
Across our 17 campuses, this partial restoration of funding would save 600
jobs and enable us to teach 1,300 more class sections, helping our students
get the courses they need to graduate on time. This vital funding would be
applied directly to the University’s academic core.
At Appalachian State University, for example, these additional dollars would
save about 40 jobs—more than half of them faculty—and restore 175 class
sections. Western Carolina would save another 30 jobs in an economically
distressed region of the state. Elsewhere, N.C. Central University would
save more than 20 faculty and staff jobs and 75 class sections; East
Carolina University would save 75 jobs, including nursing faculty; and UNC
Wilmington would save another 50 jobs and 120 course sections. Restored
funds would also help soften the impact of budget cuts on critical academic
and counseling services and campus safety.
While this revenue package is an important step in the right direction, we
remain gravely concerned that the remaining $263 million of cuts proposed by
the House would have a severe and lasting negative impact on student access
and the quality of education our universities can offer our students. This
reduced cut is still greater than the current state appropriations of our
six smallest campuses combined.
If cuts of that magnitude
are implemented, students on every UNC campus can still expect to see 1)
larger classes; 2) less student advising and counseling; 3) higher
student/faculty ratios; 4) lower retention and graduation rates; 5) delayed
classroom upgrades and laboratory renovations; 6) fewer security personnel;
7) reductions in library services; and 8) reductions in maintenance. The
House budget also proposes to cap our 2010-11 enrollment at current levels,
resulting in thousands of North Carolina students from every walk of life
being denied admission to a UNC campus.
Education is the key to North Carolina’s economic recovery. We therefore ask
and encourage our legislative leaders to consider all reasonable options for
further increasing State revenues."