Massive cuts to the school system’s budget are making shock waves in the state.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:

University of Alaska Regents Vote to Declare Financial Exigency

The University of Alaska’s Board of Regents declared financial exigency on Monday, calling it a sad but necessary step given the budget crisis created by a 41-percent cut in the university’s budget from the state.

The vote was 10 to 1 in favor of the declaration, which system leaders said was needed to allow the system to downsize rapidly. That could include closing programs and laying off tenured faculty members.

“It’s hard for me to contemplate the path we may have to go down,” said John Davies, the board’s chairman. “But we do have a fiduciary responsibility to be sure the institution survives. Unfortunately, I think we’re grappling with survival.”

Members who said they were voting reluctantly in favor of the motion pointed out that it was a tool, not a plan for making cuts, and that it could be modified, restricted, or withdrawn if lawmakers restored at least some of the budget.

“I’d celebrate to the stars if things got reversed, but I don’t think it’s likely,” Davies said.

If the university does nothing, it will run out of state money by February, some of the regents pointed out. The cuts affect the 2020 fiscal year, which started on July 1.


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