Budgets do not yet
fund UH fixes

Neither house has found a way
to pay the $28.4 million needed

Lawmakers are still looking for money to repair Hamilton Library, the Biomedical Sciences Building and other University of Hawaii-Manoa buildings damaged by the Oct. 30 flood.

University of Hawaii

Most university
priorities still alive

The status of funding for key initiatives at the University of Hawaii for the next two fiscal years:


» New general fund spending: $17 million
» Construction projects: $118 million
» Flood repair projects: $0
» Medical school: $5 million
» B-Plus scholarship program: $3 million
» Bonding authority for student housing: $25 million
» Hawaiian-language building at UH-Hilo: $0


» New general fund spending: $23.6 million
» Construction projects: $196 million
» Flood repair projects: $0
» Medical school: $9 million
» Scholarship programs: $0
» Bonding authority for student housing: $250 million
» Hawaiian-language building at UH-Hilo: $20 million

Source: UH Office of Governmental Relations

With the legislative session in its final weeks, the current House and Senate versions of the budget have included no money for long-term repair and restoration of the buildings, which need an estimated $28.4 million in repairs over the next two years.

"It's a major problem," said UH Vice President for Administration Sam Callejo.

He said the university and the governor also asked this month for $31 million in general operating funds over the biennium to deal with the flood's aftermath.

Callejo explained that even though the Federal Emergency Management Agency reimburses the state, the university has to spend the money first.

"I need the money to do the projects, get the invoice, submit that to FEMA, and then they'll reimburse," Callejo said.

FEMA recently announced that the university is eligible for up to $31 million in federal disaster funds. The state must put in about $10 million in matching funds.

Damage from the flood is estimated at $81 million, not including lost research and business interruption.

A current proposal (Senate Bill 67, Senate Draft 2, House Draft 2) would grant the university authority to spend $25 million in insurance money.

But Callejo said that would only reimburse the university for money already spent on cleanup and to reopen the buildings, not for long-term repair of the damaged facilities.

Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Clayton Hee noted that the request for the money came late in the session, after the House had passed its budget. But he and House Vice Speaker K. Mark Takai said lawmakers are committed to the flood repair.

"It's something we have to do," Hee said.

He acknowledged that the arbitrated settlement between the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the state, and possible settlements with the teachers and United Public Workers union, also are making new funding difficult.

"It's going to further exacerbate an already difficult situation," Hee said.

His own proposal to provide scholarships to any low-income student who graduates with at least a B average at any state university or college remains alive at the Legislature, but at a funding level significantly less than the $12 million needed.

The Senate budget gives $1 million in 2006 and $2 million in 2007 for the B-Plus scholarships. The House does not have any money for a state scholarship fund.

Takai said the university can set up a state scholarship fund without a new appropriation by setting aside tuition funds already collected. But he added, "it is important to provide money for scholarships, so it's something we have to take a look at."

The university and the governor had asked for a one-time $20 million appropriation for a state scholarship program.

Hee said the $3 million over two years will be enough to set up a pilot program targeting the poorest schools.

As the House and Senate try to reconcile differences between their versions of the UH budget, university Vice President for Governmental Affairs David Morihara said it appears most of the university's priorities are still alive, although at reduced funding.

Takai said he hopes the Legislature can find money for flood repairs and new programs. "We'll see an increase (in the UH budget)," he said. "What specifically that amount is is yet to be determined."

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