Under the state budget passed by the Virginia General Assembly, the College of William and Mary will receive more than $4.5 million in additional operating funds for fiscal year 2007 and $23.9 million for capital projects on campus.
“This budget represents a substantial step toward the reinvigoration of the funding partnership between the Commonwealth and the College,” said William and Mary President Gene R. Nichol. “As originally submitted by Governor Mark Warner and Governor-elect Kaine in December, the proposed budget contained significant new funding, and the budget passed by the General Assembly goes beyond those levels. We are most grateful, because this investment will help ensure that Virginia’s daughters and sons will continue to benefit from high-quality educational programs.”
The General Assembly measure—which requires action by Governor Tim Kaine before it becomes law—contains funding for a 4.35-percent salary increase for members of the teaching and research faculty, a 4-percent increase for other William and Mary employees, significant operating support for the College’s academic and research activities and $6 million for the purchase of the Williamsburg Community Hospital.
Nichol said that the College’s highest priorities were increased salaries and additional student financial assistance. The General Assembly provided a 4.35-percent increase for teaching and research faculty, and in April 2006, the William and Mary Board of Visitors added funds to bring the total to an average of 5 percent. Other employees will receive increases averaging 4 percent. Graduate students will benefit from an additional $145,000 in state funds annually, while aid for undergraduate students received a boost of $181,025.
“The $4.5-million allocation for the operating budget is particularly welcomed,” said Nichol. “With this appropriation, the Commonwealth is moving ever closer to meeting its long-standing obligation to the students of Virginia. These funds will enable us to maintain the momentum toward implementation of the six-year plan that was submitted as part of our restructuring agreement with the state.”
Nichol hailed the passage of the Higher Education Restructuring Act that was completed earlier in the session and recently signed into law by Governor Kaine. It will promote cost-saving and efficiency among all state colleges and universities. The act envisions a partnership between the College and the Commonwealth that will enable the institution to implement more effectively its long-term plan to provide educational services to the Commonwealth and its citizens.
The General Assembly budget also included funding for three important capital projects. For the purchase of the Williamsburg Community Hospital, the budget contains an allocation of $6 million, with an additional $2.5 million to complete the purchase price coming from College-issued bonds. An appropriation of $1.85 million will enable the College to begin planning for the property, which will eventually become the home of William and Mary’s School of Education. The state expects the College to match its commitment of $1.85 million for planning.
Some $8.3 million was appropriated to enable the College to update its utilities system and power plant, and $2.8 million was allocated for the expansion of Small Hall, which houses the physics department. An appropriation of $5 million over the next two years will allow the College to address deferred maintenance of its academic buildings.
“We are also delighted that the state appropriated $200 million for the clean up of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Vice President for Public Affairs Stewart Gamage. “We look forward to the role that the Virginia Institute of Marine Science will play in monitoring the progress that is being made on this vital initiative. We are grateful to the house and senate leadership and to the governor for the support provided through this budget.”