State budget with boost for CU advances at Capitol

As requested by governor, long bill includes 10 percent increase for university
By Staff

The Joint Budget Committee last week advanced a state budget that includes a 10 percent increase in funding for the University of Colorado – a request Gov. John Hickenlooper made last fall.

The state’s higher education budgets are slated to receive $82.2 million; CU’s portion is $18.9 million.

The budget, known as the long bill, was introduced this week in the House and is expected to be considered the rest of this week. It likely will be heard in the Senate next week.

Other notable budget items include:

  • $12.3 million for the CU Anschutz Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine and Behavioral Health project
  • $4.8 million for cyber security education
  • $18 million for all university governing boards (roughly $2.5 million for CU)
  • $8 million to address the teacher shortage
  • $6.5 million cash fund set aside for opioid bills
  • $225,000 for the family medicine faculty repayment loan program
  • $2 million set aside for CCHE for rural education training program grants
  • $600,000 set aside for Open Educational Resources
  • $763,000 for Level 1 Controlled Maintenance projects at CU Boulder campus.

Related, House Bill 18-1003 allocates $750,000 to the Center for Research into Substance Use Disorder Prevention, Treatment and Recovery at CU Anschutz.

The JBC also set aside $225 million for implementation of the PERA bill currently under consideration by lawmakers.

“We have been working closely with PERA, legislative leaders and the governor’s office to ensure that the amount set aside would cover the costs of implementation for both employers and employees,” said Tanya Kelly-Bowry, vice president of government relations. “The funding would cover these costs for all PERA divisions and was approved by the JBC unanimously but the conversation still has a long way to go. Special thanks to Todd Saliman, vice president of budget and finance and chief financial officer, who has been critical in analyzing the PERA budget number impact for Sen. Jack Tate and Majority Leader Rep. KC Becker and Rep. Dan Pabon.”

Also at the Capitol, House Bill 1086 was passed and will become law without the signature of Gov. Hickenlooper, who expressed concerns. In a letter, the governor cited “two major flaws”: the granting of authority to the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education, rather than the CCHE, to determine bachelor of science in nursing offerings; and the failure by the bill’s proponents to engage with relevant stakeholders and higher education institutions during the legislation’s development. CU’s lobbying team was successful in narrowing the scope of the bill to be completion of nursing degrees. Kelly-Bowry thanked Dean Nancy Smith, University of Colorado Colorado Springs; Dean Mary Krugman, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; and Legal Counsel Jeremy Hueth for working on amendments.