State Senator Penny Williams is urging the State Regents for Higher Education to allocate an additional $2.84 million to OSU-Tulsa - the total of surplus funds the State Regents received thanks to an eleventh hour, line-item gubernatorial veto.
"OSU-Tulsa is already being forced to dip into its reserve funds just to fulfill its new responsibilities in the Tulsa community. The money won't address every need at OSU-Tulsa, but it would be a step in the right direction," said Senator Williams.
After the legislative session adjourned, Governor Keating vetoed a clean-up section of SB 965 designed to correct state appropriation levels. The effect of the veto was an unexpected $ 2.84 million windfall for the State Regents for Higher Education. The regents have yet to decide what to do with additional funds.
In a letter to the higher education agency, Senator Williams formally requested that the money be allocated to OSU-Tulsa.
"I don't think there's any question that Tulsa got shortchanged in the latest budget for higher education. By allocating the veto money to OSU-Tulsa, the State Regents can correct that oversight and ensure that we get the resources necessary to expand higher education opportunities in the state's second largest city," said Senator Williams.
OSU-Tulsa requested a budget increase of $7.4 million this year, but only received $660,000. University officials say they are being forced to dip into their reserve funds to hire new faculty, expand degree programs and make other changes required to fulfill OSU's new mission in Tulsa.
"There's a major constituency wanting higher education services in Tulsa, but it won't be served unless OSU-Tulsa is properly funded. We have a great opportunity to make some progress if the veto money is reallocated to Tulsa," noted Senator Williams.