- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A scheduled retreat for the University of Alaska Board of Regents will include discussions on anticipated funding cuts and a search to replace outgoing UA President Pat Gamble.

The 11-member board will gather for two days in Anchorage with budget presentations by Gamble and chancellors at the three main campuses, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (https://bit.ly/15zeuya) reported.

Gamble told the regents in November that the university system likely will face another substantial gap between revenue and spending despite absorbing a $26 million funding shortfall in 2014.

Gamble last week said he has received indications that state funding is going to be a problem. The per barrel price of Alaska North Slope crude oil has dropped from $80 in November to less than $50 this month.

“Apprising the board of the kind of things we’re going to have to deal with, given the peek under the tent we’ve gotten so far with the state dollars coming our way, we’re beginning to see what kind of budget we’re going to have,” Gamble said. “Until numbers are announced, we won’t know.”

“It’s not going to be, ‘Cut out Zumba dance at one of the rural campuses. I mean we’re talking about a magnitude here that’s fairly staggering,” Gamble said. “Our job then is to figure out what do we invest in? What do we hold onto? And then how do we come out of this thing at the end?”

Decisions to eliminate jobs or close buildings will start with campus program reviews and items each chancellor identifies as ways to reduce costs over a period of several years, he said.

“They’re going to take heat, they’re going to take political heat, and it’s not going to be pretty,” he said. “But I don’t think we have a choice.”

During an executive session, regents will discuss how to replace Gamble, who will retire in June.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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