Less money, backup plans and figuring out the future--the University of Alaska system considers the future

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) It didn't seem to surprise anyone that the University of Alaska's budget would be cut, but it was less than President Jim Johnsen feared.

Johnsen presented the university's FY18 budget to the UA Board of Regents at its special meeting Thursday in Fairbanks.

"This is not a time for high-fives," Johnsen said. "This is more a time for relief because the cut could have been even deeper, and now we must focus on the hard work ahead."

Regents also approved a budget contingency option in case the operating budget isn't passed by July 1st. It allows Johnsen to get an advance from the Office of Management and Budget, which means work can continue in the University system.

Meanwhile the state Legislature's conference committee cut $8 million from the University of Alaska's budget, far less than the nearly $22 million reduction proposed by the state Senate.

"So that's a positive, so more sense of relief than one of celebration, but I think this will set us up well for the work ahead," Johnsen said.

Johnsen told the Regents that the FY2014 budget was $378 million, this year it was $325 million, a 14 percent base reduction.

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