Officials from Oklahoma’s 25 state-supported colleges and universities are seeking a special legislative appropriation of $2.8 million to meet debt service requirements on bonds issued by the Oklahoma Capital Improvement Authority in 2005 on behalf of the State Regents for Higher Education.
The schools face a shortfall of $8.8 million due to lower than expected revenues from the Oklahoma Lottery. There was a $6 million shortfall in 2007 that was filled by legislative appropriation. Anticipating a similar gap in 2008, the regents set aside another $6 million from funds allocated for distribution to state higher education institutions. But the shortfall ended up being $8.8 billion, so an additional $2.8 billion is needed to make up the difference.
Without the additional appropriation, school officials said, colleges and universities would receive lower distributions in May and June, reducing the number of summer courses that would be offered.
“We are left with a bleak summer before us if we don’t receive the help we’re requesting today,” said Doug Wilson, executive secretary of the Oklahoma State University Board of Regents.
“Unless action is taken on our supplemental request, our institutions will once again have to make cuts in their operational budgets,” said Glen D. Johnson, chancellor of the state regents.
The lower distribution would mean a reduction of $607,000 from Oklahoma State University’s cut and a $599,000 reduction for the University of Oklahoma. Reductions at regional universities will range from $34,000 to $131,000, and at community colleges from $34,000 to $99,000.