UI EXTENSION CENTERS MAY CLOSE
A University of Idaho official says the Parma Research and Extension Center in southwest Idaho remains at risk of shutting down due to the latest round of state budget cuts.
The Idaho Statesman reports that John Hammel, the dean of the university's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, says extension centers in Tetonia in southeastern Idaho and Sandpoint in northern Idaho are also at risk.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter last month ordered state agencies and public universities and colleges to hold back spending by 4 percent to help offset a $151 million shortfall in state revenue as Idaho suffers more fallout from the economic recession and high unemployment.
University officials hope private money will help keep the centers open.
The University of Idaho says closing one or more of a 12 agriculture and extension centers is still an option, but a final decision could depend on negotiations with business and industry groups.
Provost Doug Baker says the state has made a significant investment in the centers, and the university is now trying to determine if private stakeholders are willing to invest as well.
The university is facing a $1.5 million shortfall in funding for a dozen agriculture and extension centers, which were already facing a $3.2 million funding cut this year.
Public universities and colleges were told in late September to reduce spending by $15.2 million to help offset shortfalls in state revenue.