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Last days of the Board of Governors

October 9, 2012

The Board of Governors for Higher Education has just three full meetings left before it ceases to exist, at least in its current form.

The state is dissolving both the Board of Governors and the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education. Instead, a single board will oversee the state’s public schools and colleges and universities starting on January 1st, 2013. (No word yet, by the way, on when Governor Lincoln Chafee will announce his appointees for the new board)

Items the Board of Governors may address in its final days include:

  • Budget requests for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2013. Governor Lincoln Chafee has asked all departments to submit budgets with a 7 percent decrease in spending. Higher Education officials say they are concerned about how they will make good on a promise to freeze tuition rates while facing a funding cut.
  • Presidential Contracts. URI’s David Dooley has said he is planning to remain at the helm of the state’s flagship university but wants to resolve faculty contracts before finalizing his own. CCRI president Ray Di Pasquale does double duty as the head of both the community college system and the state’s Office of Higher Education. It’s not clear whether he will continue this dual role after the upcoming consolidation with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • Collective bargaining contracts for professors at URI. This contract has been a source of controversy due to a proposed increase in faculty salaries. The university says compensation must remain competitive to attract top quality profs. Also, the pay hike is supposed to be partly offset by an increase in employee health contributions. Critics, including Governor Lincoln Chafee, have questioned the increase, noting that personnel costs are the main driver in tuition bills.

The next Board of Governors meeting is scheduled for October 29th.

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