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How Georgia State plans to spend $12.42 million

Four years ago, Georgia State University President Mark Becker promised to double the number of sworn police officers on Georgia State campuses. Since then, the number has increased from 71 to 126 and will continue to grow within the next two years, according to Senior Vice President of Finance Jerry Rackliffe. 

This is just one example of the fulfilled items from the Fiscal Year 2020 budget that was put in effect this July.

The total budget is composed of $1.2 billion, but Rackliffe presented a breakdown of a portion of this budget, $12.42 million, to the University Senate Research Committee at their meeting on Oct. 21.

Big ticket items consisted of a 2% raise for faculty and staff members from a merit pool of $3.8 million, the execution of the final year of the five-year Next Generation Program, the successor to the previous Second Century Initiative, leaving just over $1.5 million left for the faculty raises, and nearly $3 million for the fulfillment of departmental research commitments.

The allocation of the nearly $3 million came after the new Vice President of Research Michael Erikson uncovered unfulfilled commitments (equipment, faculty hires, space) that were made to various colleges and faculty. 

Come May, when the budgets were to be turned in for approval, Erikson had not completed uncovering all of the commitments, so any remaining will be present in the FY 2021 budget.

“These commitments were made in writing to people … and obviously we need to honor those commitments. Georgia State honors commitments,” Rackliffe said. 

The last gender salary research was conducted at Georgia State in 2011, prior to the consolidation of the Perimeter campuses and the Downtown campus. Now, $372,000  will go towards a new gender salary research plan and adjustment. 

Wake Forest University

It remains in the preliminary stages after Georgia State received no bids for consultation on the matter, but research studies will begin sometime within this academic school year.

“While current hiring follows the market, it is possible for existing faculty to have salaries that do not always keep pace with inflation and market,” newly appointed Provost Wendy Hensel said. “This [gender salary research plan] is a chance for us to look comprehensively across the university at these issues.”

In an attempt to continue securing Georgia State assets, nearly $1 million has been allocated towards cybersecurity. An item that the University System of Georgia Board of Regents expressed the importance to Georgia State, according to Rackliffe.

“When you compare Georgia State to Georgia Tech or [the University of Georgia], you see that the staffing for cybersecurity is way understaffed. This would be an attempt to fill up the capacity,” a member of the research committee said. 

Due to the steadily growing number of freshmen admitted each year, certain schools, specifically the College of Arts and Sciences, need extra funding — $675,000 of an “unmet demand,” to be exact — to keep up with the growing number of students in classes like English and math. 

The same can be said for the rising number of students wishing to pursue a career in computer science. This leads the extra funding, $270,000, to be allocated towards more faculty, which can provide more class sections for students. 

But what wasn’t included in the budget?

Items, such as graduate student health care, research initiation grants, dissertation grants and summer faculty research, were not funded from this portion of the budget.