As has been the custom in recent months, a monthly budget briefing for members of the UNC system's Board of Governors was, shall we say, a less-than gleeful affair.
The board got its latest rundown of money cut from its current state appropriation — $203 million, if you count Gov. Beverly Perdue's new half-percent pay cut for state workers — as well as what the next year might look light.
Here are a few highlights. Or, if you prefer, lowlights.
The $167 million that UNC campuses have cut from the current year's operating budgets includes $32 million at UNC Chapel Hill, $31 million at N.C. State and $5.4 million at N.C. Central University.
Initiatives not receiving funding this year include: academic and student support; library resources; start-up money for new research labs, and equipment upgrades.
Also, there is no money for repairs and renovations this year. That's a major issue for university system leaders who don't want to fall back into the same sorry situation they found themselves in towards the end of the 1990s — decades of deferred maintenance — that made the $2.1 billion bond program necessary.
"We're deferring a lot of problems here by not having the resources to expend on them," said Rob Nelson, the UNC system's vice president for finance.
Roof repairs and renovations are apparently in high demand now, with such projects nixed on 12 of 16 campuses including UNC-CH and NCCU. Fire safety improvements like sprinkler system installation and structural facility repairs are also being delayed.
"This is a big deal," said Erskine Bowles, the UNC system president. "We have all these great buildings and we're not maintaining them. We'll pay for it down the road."