State funding for the four initiatives is vital for the university to keep moving toward its goal of becoming a preeminent metropolitan research institution, said UofL President James Ramsey.

We understand and sympathize with the state’s budget dilemma but every dollar invested in higher education is an investment in training our students for the jobs of tomorrow, said Ramsey, a former state budget director.

These are the details of UofL’s wish list for state legislators to include in the 2010-2012 biennial budget:

Maintenance and Operation: $830,000 to pay the costs of utilities and other day-to-day maintenance and operations of UofL’s new buildings. The university is also seeking to recoup $6.7 million it spent on maintenance and operation of new buildings that came online from 2008 to 2010. For the first time in the past few decades, the current state budget doesn’t include m-and-o funding for new university buildings.

Bucks for Brains: Continued funding for the Bucks for Brains (Research Challenge Trust Fund) program. UofL has received $115 million in state funds since the innovative program began and has matched every dollar. Bucks for Brains provides money for research.

Classroom Building: $75 million for a new classroom building. UofL administrators say they could accept more quality students if there were classroom space to teach them. A study by the Council on Postsecondary Education showed that UofL, Northern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky are the only schools with classroom deficiencies.

State Funding: Increase UofL’s base funding. The state’s two research universities, UofL and the University of Kentucky, have endured nine state budget cuts in the past 10 years. Ramsey said he is hopeful that state lawmakers will restore some of that funding or, at the very least, not subject state universities to any more budget cuts.

The legislative session began Jan. 5 and continues through mid-April.

UofL President James Ramsey talks about UofL’s legislative priorities in a short video.