UH budget ‘needs to change’
School officials tell legislators they hope to attract new revenue
The departure of University of Hawaii football coach June Jones, and the highly publicized reasons behind it, were helpful in one sense to Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw.
"It has, to me, emphasized the need for change," Hinshaw told lawmakers yesterday.
Stressing the need to develop public-private partnerships and find new streams of revenue, university officials formally briefed lawmakers on their budget requests for the next fiscal year.
Last year the Legislature appropriated $26 million in operating funds for the university for the 2008 fiscal year, which ends June 30, and $37 million for fiscal year 2009. The university had requested $39 million and $58 million.
As lawmakers consider additional funding requests for next fiscal year, the university is requesting another $30.6 million. In her supplemental budget, Gov. Linda Lingle has set aside about $7 million for the university.
The university also is seeking about $120 million in money for new construction projects. The governor's budget has included $101 million for capital improvements.
Lawmakers already have said they will closely scrutinize all budget requests in the face of a slowing economy and decreased tax revenues.
Lawmakers open the 2008 session tomorrow.
The budget briefings at the state Capitol come four days after some legislators got a firsthand look at the condition of all facilities at the university system's flagship Manoa campus.
Many suggested new building would have to wait while repair and maintenance of existing facilities take priority.
University President David McClain said it was imperative that the system seek out and develop more public-private partnerships, such as the one developed through a $25 million donation by real estate investor and UH alumnus Jay Shidler to what is now called the Shidler College of Business.
The money is used to provide more scholarships and to attract instructors, lecturers and researchers to endowed positions. It created a full-time Master of Business Administration program, which previously had been limited to evening classes.
"This approach is certainly doable," McClain said.
He added that such partnerships would be particularly viable to improve athletic facilities because the success and attention generated by the football program has led to more alumni contacting the university and wanting to help.
"The entire community has seen the transformative power of Warrior football," McClain said.