The North Carolina General Assembly adjourned the 2015 long session on Sept. 29. UNC Charlotte’s top priorities, funding enrollment growth and a new science building came closer to a reality. The $90 million for a new science building at UNC Charlotte is included in a $2 billion bond package for UNC facilities, community colleges, parks, water and sewer improvements and public safety. The referendum will be on the statewide ballot March 15, 2016, the date of the N.C. presidential primary and all primaries for state and local offices. Voter approval of the bond referendum is needed to fund the science building.
“As one of the fastest-growing campuses in the UNC system, we are particularly pleased that the governor and the General Assembly provided funding for enrollment growth,” said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. “We applaud Gov. Pat McCrory’s leadership to push a bond referendum for infrastructure including UNC buildings. The legislature showed strong bipartisan support for a $2 billion bond package including $90 million for a new science building on our campus. We also applaud the many legislators from the Charlotte region and those who are alumni of UNC Charlotte, for their support of the needs of our campus.” Strong backing came from legislative leaders Rep Bill Brawley, (’78) and Rep Jason Saine (’95) (both seen at left), who championed the $90 million science building along with Sen Bob Rucho (’94) and Rep Dean Arp ('99).
Rep Bill Brawley (’78) and Rep Jason Saine (’95) at a recent UNC Charlotte event.
In addition to the $18 million enrollment growth funding, UNC Charlotte will receive $1 million across two years for an economic modeling initiative that will provide data analytics to the state for changes in public policy for taxation, highway funding, economic development and other areas.
All permanent state employees will receive a $750 one-time bonus to be paid by the end of 2015. University leaders expressed hope that the legislature will provide a meaningful raise for employees during the 2016 session.
The two year budget calls for nearly $18 million in a management flex cut in FY 2016 to the UNC system of which UNC Charlotte will realize a reduction of approximately $1 million. A $26 million cut to the UNC system in FY 2017 will result in an additional $1.6 million reduction to UNC Charlotte. Another area that could see a potential cut in the second year is advancement/development operations that would be capped at $1 million in state funds. The UNC Charlotte potential impact is $2.5 million.
An important budget management tool was enacted this year that allows UNC campuses to increase the funds carry forward to the next fiscal year by 2.5 percent and earmarked for repair and renovations and planning for capital projects. This sound management tool has been sought for many years to address some of the $110 million backlog in deferred maintenance.