The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees has approved a state budget request that includes, among other things, a merit-based pay raise for faculty and staff raises.

The block grant request for the 2015-16 biennium now goes to the state Department of Administration and Information’s Budget Division and Gov. Matt Mead, who will present his state budget recommendations to the Legislature later this year for the two-year period beginning July 1, 2014.

The request approval comes nearly a week after  university leaders had told the board that UW's efforts to become a top-tier land-grant institution was being hindered by a lack of raises for faculty and staff.

“This budget request represents the university’s best effort to respond to the needs of the state, move ahead on key initiatives, and maintain and enhance the quality of instruction, research and service provided by the university,” UW President Bob Sternberg says. “We recognize the uncertainty surrounding state revenues in the near and long term, so we’re including only those items we see as essential to continue moving toward our goal of becoming the nation’s premier land-grant university.”

The last salary adjustment for UW employees was an average 4 percent increase in 2009.  At no time in the past 30 years have UW faculty and staff members gone so long without permanent salary adjustments.

UW has recently been dealing with a 6% budget cut, required by both the Wyoming Legislature and by Governor Matt Mead.

The $13.3 million biennial request for employee pay raises is equivalent to a 4 percent increase for faculty and staff overall, though the raises would not be distributed across the board.  The University of Wyoming says, in a press release sent Friday, " They would be based on merit, taking into account specific employee performance and market salaries for specific jobs and disciplines."

Other requests for ongoing expenses are:

  • $1.3 million for operation and maintenance of UW’s Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory.
  • $1.2 million for operation and maintenance of the university’s new on-campus facilities, as well as new UW facilities in Casper, Sheridan and Riverton.
  • $727,000 for new clinical sciences faculty and staff in the medical laboratory technician program at the UW/Casper College Center so that students can earn a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory sciences.

Other one-time and capital construction requests are:

  • $8.75 million for campus infrastructure projects, including $6 million for water infrastructure and $2.75 million for King Street improvements.
  • $2 million to upgrade Wyoming Public Media transmitters around the state.
  • $800,000 for Level 2 design of a new building for the Albany County campus of Laramie County Community College, on UW land.
  • $500,000 for a Level 2 study of renovation and expansion of the more than 40-year-old Corbett Pool, home of UW’s swimming and diving teams.
  • $350,000 for Level 2 planning for UW’s portion of the city of Laramie’s new Cirrus Sky Technology Park.
  • $200,000 for brucellosis vaccine research.

UW also is asking for the release of $7.9 million of a previous appropriation to cover Level 2 and 3 design costs and to prepare construction documents for a major upgrade of facilities for the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

In total, UW trustees approved exception budget requests for $16.56 million in recurring funding; $25.1 million in nonrecurring, or one-time, funding; and $18.4 million for capital construction projects.

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