IOWA CITY — State education budget lawmakers finalized early Wednesday include a fraction of the $22.1 million increase requested by Iowa’s public universities for the upcoming budget year.
The Education Appropriations Bill offers a $6.2 million increase to the Board of Regents, just over a quarter of the increase requested and called essential in campus efforts to provide ” high-quality public education, cutting-edge research and necessary public services“.
Of the Legislature’s $6.2 million increase, $5.5 million was for general university appropriations – to be divided by the University of Iowa, State University of ‘Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa.
“The Board of Regents is very grateful for the funding we continue to receive for Iowa’s public universities,” Board Chairman Michael Richards said in a statement provided to The Gazette on Wednesday. “We have had an excellent partnership with the state for over a century, and it continues to provide significant resources to our institutions.
“While it is unfortunate that we were unable to receive a general increase from universities equal to the $12.2 million that Governor Reynolds had in her budget proposal for fiscal year 23, we are always grateful that the he state continues to recognize that our universities are key drivers of the state’s economy. and receive significant funding.
What was asked
In September, the Regents requested an additional $15 million in general education dollars for its public universities – proposing a split of $4 million to UNI, $4 million to Unemployment Insurance and $7 million to the state of Iowa.
Additionally, IU requested $3 million for its Oakdale campus, state hygiene laboratory, family practice program, and Iowa flood center.
The family medicine program — with an additional $500,000, bringing its total budget to $2.2 million — was the only one of these UI-based special units to receive more funding.
The Board of Regents, in its September request, said the money was needed to maintain “community-based family medicine residency programs in Iowa.”
“The program has been instrumental to the State of Iowa in promoting primary health care for all Iowans, especially in rural Iowa,” according to the regents’ request. . “An increase in financial support is now more important than ever as the future sustainability of these programs is threatened due to rising costs.”
The state turned down more money for the Oakdale campus, with a budget of $2.1 million; the Iowa Flood Center, with a budget of $1.2 million; and the State Hygienic Lab, which has a budget of $4.8 million and needs an additional $1 million to “be ready to respond quickly to various threats to human and environmental health,” according to the budget request.
“The onset of the pandemic and the need to retain staff and recruit additional talented analysts has never been more evident than throughout this pandemic when over a million COVID-19 samples were tested. “, according to the council’s fall request.
“Wage increases are critical as statistics show the public health lab workforce is aging and retiring, with fewer new professionals seeking public health labs as a place to work.”
$662.8 million in 23
Final education appropriation package increases total appropriations for the Legislative Council of Regents from $616.6 million in the current budget year to $622.8 million next year – below of the $638.6 million requested.
It increases universities’ general education appropriations by $486 million to $491.5 million, down from $493 million at the start of fiscal 2020 — before COVID forced lawmakers to cut of $8 million in the middle of this year.
The state denied universities any increase in general education funding last year, despite a regent’s request for an $18 million increase — plus restoration of the $8 million cut.
The budget includes a $150,000 increase for the Iowa State Cooperative Extension Service; a $300,000 raise for the Iowa School for the Deaf; and a $114,000 increase for the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School.
Vanessa Miller writes for The Gazette.