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What Bredesen's budget means for Austin Peay

Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted six more weeks of winter yesterday, but another Phil proposed raises, capital outlay and maintenance funds and a one-time bonus for employees at Austin Peay.

During last nights State of the State Address, Gov. Phil Bredesen announced a 3.1 percent operating cut for higher education–much less than the anticipated 5 percent cut.
Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted six more weeks of winter yesterday, but another Phil proposed raises, capital outlay and maintenance funds and a one-time bonus for employees at Austin Peay.

During last night's State of the State Address, Gov. Phil Bredesen announced a 3.1 percent operating cut for higher education—much less than the anticipated 5 percent cut.

The 3.1 percent cut is coming from higher education through a combination of a base budget reduction of $9.2 million and a requirement to fund a $24.6 million portion of salary increases from tuition or further budget reductions.

According to Mitch Robinson, vice president for finance and administration, the total overall reduction at Austin Peay will be $982,500.

University employees will be glad to hear that Bredesen's budget includes funds for a 2 percent salary increase for state and higher education employees and K-12 teachers and staff. (For higher education, the recommendation includes funds for the raise in non-tuition units; the other units will provide for the 2 percent raise from tuition funds or further budget reductions.)

The budget also offers non-recurring funds for a 1 percent, one-time salary bonus for state and higher education employees and K-12 teachers and staff. Robinson says the 1 percent bonus will be funded by the state.

In addition, after three years of being passed over for capital outlay funds, the University's McCord Building renovations are in the state budget. Austin Peay has been approved for the $7.27 million renovation, but the state is asking the University to raise one-third of the project's cost (about $2.42 million) from private funds.

Robinson says, “We hope this does not become a requirement, but if it does, we will rise to the challenge through aggressive fundraising efforts.”

According to McCord renovation plans completed Jan. 23, 2001, the former science building will be used as instructional, laboratory and office space for geosciences (geology and geography) and the School of Nursing.

The state budget also allots $1.32 million in capital maintenance funds for the Armory Building to repair the heating and cooling system, windows and restrooms.
—Rebecca Mackey