Board reviews finance pleas equest totals $300 million

By Jim Wozniak

The Board of Regents facilities/finance committee voted Thursday to recommend approval of funds for new buildings, replacements and academic programs as part of appropriations requests for Fiscal Year 1989.

The requests were broken down into operating and capital appropriations. Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves is asking for about $231 million in operating funds and about $69 million in capital funds.

The operating funds requested are about $37 million more than for FY ‘88. Leading the increases is about $15 million to raise faculty salaries about 10 percent. The chancellor’s report stated the Regents’ personnel committee stamped its approval on a plan in 1985 to provide faculty with salaries in the top 25 percent of institutions comparable in size.

It stated the faculty received a 6.5 percent salary hike during FY ‘87, but Gov. James Thompson’s recent budget cuts prevented continuing the increase during this year.

The committee also will ask the Regents today to approve $500,000 for the development of the Ph.D. degree in physics. NIU Graduate Dean Jerrold Zar said Thursday NIU wanted $750,000 for the first year if the new degree would begin that year. But the $500,000 is only for developmental work, the report stated. It stated the funding will concentrate on high energy physics.

NIU received about 45 percent of the money requested for capital improvements and additions. The chancellor’s report calls for NIU to have more than $30 million for prioritized projects the university would like to have.

The first request is about $18 million for Faraday II construction. The state already has released almost $1 million for the project. LaTourette stated the necessity for the funds because “in the sciences we are now operating at over 11 percent of capacity.”

Second on the list is a new steam tunnel to operate for Faraday and Montgomery halls and the Psychology-Math building. LaTourette said the tunnel is about 25 years old and leaks. The Chancellor’s Office agrees with NIU’s request for about $2 million.

All of these projects have to go to the Illinois Board of Higher Education for final approval.

egent Milton McClure said he has seen many of these requests in the five years he has been on the board, but the IBHE has rejected the proposals. He questioned the decision to continue submitting them if they only are going to be rejected.