N.C. State Budget Finalized
On Tuesday, June 12, the General Assembly finalized the 2018–19 state budget, which will take effect July 1.
Several provisions impacting Appalachian State University were included in the budget:
- Compensation: Yesterday, you received a message from Human Resources sharing information about legislative increases for state employees. While I am heartened to see our legislators recognize the importance of compensation increases for our hardworking faculty and staff, I recognize we will be facing resource challenges in order to equitably implement raises, particularly for our lowest paid employees. While there is still much to be determined, I am committed to seeking solutions that will meet the intent of the legislation — to pay a fair wage to all employees in the state of North Carolina.
- Sanford Hall renovation: Sanford Hall accommodates every Appalachian student for at least one class before graduating. Those of you who work and study in this building are reminded daily the extent to which the building is in need of renovation. During the 2017–18 academic year, Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and the UNC System Board of Governors approved our proposal for funding renovations to the building. While the funding model of using student fees to update the building is not ideal, Vice Chancellor Paul Forte was able to offset the student fees to a large extent, and the General Assembly approved our using these funds for the renovation. This was the final step in the approval process. We are on track to begin renovations in May of 2019.
- Appalachian Academy at Middle Fork: Our legislators continue to recognize the importance of responding to our funding needs as we work toward opening the Appalachian Academy at Middle Fork in August. In her State of the University remarks in Asheville this spring, President Spellings called attention to our work at the academy as helping to fulfill the legislature’s vision for centers of innovation, research and teaching excellence. As we learn more about the funding needs for the academy, our lawmakers are responding to these needs.
Earlier this month, UNC Board of Governors member C. Philip Byers and Appalachian Board of Trustees Chair James Barnes joined me in making visits to our legislators in Raleigh. We participated in a number of productive conversations, including a meeting with House Speaker Tim Moore. Later in the day, during the full legislative session, Moore recognized our delegation and extended the House’s “courtesy of the gallery.”
Our state lawmakers are supportive of Appalachian and our strategic goals, and Byers and Barnes are both strong advocates for our university. I appreciate their championing Appalachian and am encouraged by their confidence in the work we do for the citizens of our state.
Sheri Everts, Chancellor