Governor Dayton proposes $5-million for UMD in his budget proposal

By KBJR News 1

March 7, 2014 Updated Mar 7, 2014 at 7:05 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The potential for millions of additional dollars for the University of Minnesota Duluth in Governor Mark Dayton's budget proposal has sparked conversation on campus.

The university recently announced the college needs to reduce its budget by $9.4-million, and Governor Dayton hopes to make that reduction a bit easier for UMD with an allocation of $5-million for the university, which he included in his budget proposal.

At a strategic planning and budget committee meeting Friday at UMD, educators solicited ideas to generate more revenue for the university, all of which are still under discussion.

Over 50 faculty members from UMD have already taken part in the university's voluntary layoff program, and other suggestions include increasing revenue-makers like summer activities on campus, and possibly adding a $10 fee for students who use the DTA bus line.

"We're hoping with the Dayton budget surplus that we'll see some additional, maybe five million dollars is what he suggested, and we're really happy to hear about that; we're hoping that is recurring, meaning that we hope we get additional funding for O and M going forward every year from the system and from the legislators," said Jennifer Schultz, chair of UMD's strategic planning committee.

Chancellor Black says the university's financial woes stem from lower tuition revenue due to a decline in new student enrollment in 2013 and 2014.

That, plus a fringe benefit shortfall discovered in 2013, and a reduction in state funding.

UMD will be submitting their budget request to the twin cities next week.

UMD educators say new program ideas for the university are usually submitted, but due to the budget shortfall they won't be able to do so.

They say the request this year is to simply receive the funds from state allocations needed to operate the university.

Elsa Robins