This year’s Higher Education Day on March 6 will be the most important one in years for the University of South Alabama because of a proposed 13 percent budget cut, according to Happy Fulford, executive director for governmental relations at USA.
“The attitude in Montgomery is that colleges and universities can afford the cuts better than other areas of education. We need to descend on Montgomery on March 6 to dispel that misconception,” said Fulford.
USA faculty, students, alumni and staff are invited to ride a university bus to Montgomery for the annual Higher Education Day rally at the Alabama State House. Hundreds of university employees and students from around Alabama are expected to attend the rally in support of more funding. Legislators and state officials are also expected to attend.
USA participants may ride a university bus that will leave University Commons at 8 a.m. It will arrive in Montgomery for the 11 a.m. rally. Afterward, participants will lunch with legislators on the Capitol lawn.
The $6.7 billion education budget proposed for 2009 reflects cuts of $186 million, or 13.3 percent, for the four-year colleges and universities.
In contrast, cuts of 10 percent are proposed for the two-year college system and 2.6 percent for K-12.
The proposed 2009 Executive Budget recommendation for USA is $119.6 million, which represents a cut of $18.5 million from 2008 funding.
Earlier this year, Legislative Fiscal Officer Joyce Bigbee, projected a shortfall in state revenue to the Education Trust Fund of $615 million for 2009. This includes increases needed for the Teacher Retirement System and the Public Education Employees Health Insurance Program, which totals more than $74 million.
The university bus will return to University Commons by 5 p.m.
To reserve a seat on the Student Government Association bus, email your name and Jag number to email@example.com.
To reserve a seat on the faculty, staff and alumni bus, call or email Marsha Butler at (251)460-7277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.