| 03.18.2018

Staben ready for state legislature — State surplus could go to university


University of Idaho President Chuck Staben said a State Board of Education initiative and a surplus of state money could mean more funding from the state legislature this spring.

At the University Faculty Meeting Tuesday, Staben said the State of Idaho has a $132 million surplus this year.

“I’d like to see that come to higher education and other investments like infrastructure,” Staben said. “Now is the time to invest.”

Staben said in particular an “outcome-based funding” initiative from the state board could lead to more funding for the university.

He said the initiative would assign different values to different degrees earned at a university, and provide funding to colleges and universities in Idaho based on the number of each type of degree the schools produce.

That funding would come from a separate pool of money and would be an addition to the university’s current funds.

Staben said if funded, the initiative would likely not affect the university’s emphasis on any level of degree, regardless of the values assigned by the state board.

“The biggest potential effect is a pool of money,” Staben said.

Appropriations bills for higher education will be considered near the beginning of the legislative session in January.

Staben said an emphasis on education by the legislature in recent years could mean a good chance some of the surplus goes to higher education, but he expects K-12 education to be the emphasis of funding.

Due to a lack of a quorum at the meeting, university policies passed by Faculty Senate this semester, including ones to make changes to position descriptions and instructor evaluation forms, could not be voted on by the faculty and will be sent to Staben as if passed by the faculty.

Nishant Mohan can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @NishantRMohan

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