Malloy budget chief: We want to spend more on colleges than proposed

Western Connecticut State University (file photo)

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / The CT Mirror

Western Connecticut State University (file photo)

The governor’s budget director said Friday that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s $60 million spending proposal aimed at renovating and upgrading the buildings at the state’s largest public college system is just a down payment on what’s really needed.

“It’s probably not enough,” Benjamin Barnes told the General Assembly’s budget-writing committee. “That’s not all we are prepared to spend on this system.”

However, Barnes said, exactly how much more will be requested of the state to spend will not be known until this fall, which is after the legislature adjourns for 2014 and a few months before a new governor potentially takes office after elections this fall.

The delay comes because officials in the Connecticut State College & University (CSCU) system are developing a long-term plan and are not expected to complete it before summer.

The $60 million in additional construction spending proposed for the fiscal year that begins July 1 would bring the state’s total spending for new buildings and renovations at the state’s dozen community colleges and four Connecticut State Universities to $175 million. The state’s other public college system, The University of Connecticut, is slated to get $315 million for construction next fiscal year.

A recent independent review of the CSCU’s 16 campuses found that the 92,000-student system needs an $836 million infusion to complete needed renovations and to eliminate a growing backlog of construction projects.