ORONO (AP) – The University of Maine System plans to ask the Legislature for an additional appropriation of $36 million, an increase of nearly 19 percent, over the next two-year budget cycle.

System trustees agreed to the request Monday at a meeting in which they also approved a new contract with the union representing its 1,300 faculty members.

Chancellor Terrence MacTaggart said the additional state funding, which would boost the state’s appropriation to the system to $226 million a year, would be used to raise faculty pay and hold down tuition increases.

“Why should the people of Maine do this? Primarily it promises to do good things for the state,” he said.

MacTaggart said the added funding would allow the university to become more competitive and could help reverse the “brain drain” in which thousands of the state’s high school graduates elect to attend out-of-state colleges and never return to Maine.

“Shipping out your smartest people year after year is not a good way to build the state’s economy,” he said.

The state’s appropriation represents about 32 percent of the roughly $556 million in annual revenue for the system.

The new agreement with the Associated Faculties of Maine, which faces a ratification vote by the membership, provides a 3 percent raise retroactive to last year, a 3 percent raise this year and a 2 percent raise next year. It also calls for faculty to contribute more toward health insurance coverage.

Members of the union had been working without a contract for the past year.

Trustees also unanimously passed a resolution expressing their concerns about the spending cap referendum on the Nov. 7 ballot known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

AP-ES-09-12-06 0801EDT

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