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SOUTH KINGSTOWNâ€”Gov, Lincoln Chafee met with a small gathering of university administrators and media on Wednesday, to discuss his intention to increase $10 million in public higher education in Rhode Island for FY 2012. Chafeeâ€™s budget contributes $154 million in operational funds and would restore a total of 82 academic positions that have disappeared at Rhode Island College and Community College of Rhode Island.
â€śSpend it wisely,â€ť Chafee concluded his remarks, giving a characteristic bashful grin and wave.
Chafee was joined by Ray DiPasquale, of CCRI, David Dooley, of URI, and Nancy Carriulo, of Rhode Island College.
â€śYou have put a stop on a downward spiral over the last four years,â€ť DiPasquale said to the governor. â€śThis funding is tangible evidence of the importance and necessity of a strong higher education systemâ€¦it is the key to economic recovery.â€ť
He also praised Chafeeâ€™s â€śbold stepâ€ť and said higher education needed to be affordable and accessible. The administrators alreadyâ€”before the budget has been passedâ€”agreed that Chafee was the â€śEducation Governor.â€ť Chafee has proven himself to be the moderate Rockefeller-style New England Republican that no longer exists. His budget sliced Health and Human services (which takes up almost one third of the budget) while making long-term investments in infrastructure and education through increased tax revenue.
The enthusiasm about this appropriation comes after four years of diminishing funds to higher education. Since 2007, there has been a state appropriation budget decrease of $26 million dollars.
In 2007, for example, the state appropriation for the university was $83 million and for fiscal year 2011 the university requested $63 million and received six million less, $57 million.
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