Update on LAO Proposed UC Budget Reductions:
Report on the Senate Budget Hearing March 8, 2000 and
Issues to Discuss at Assembly Budget Hearing Set for March 15:
The Senate chose not to accept the LAO recommendations to cut UC’s base budget to equal that of K-12, nor to reduce enrollment growth funding, nor to alter the marginal cost figure for UC.. The Senate subcommittee also agreed to the proposed $1.1M augmentation to begin planning for a UCSC off-campus center in the Santa Clara Valley with the agreement to work on language to restrict the funds to actual planning. The Governor’s proposal will stand on these issues unless the Assembly, which is scheduled to meet next week, acts differently. If so, these issues would go to the Conference committee near the end of the budget process. The committee put several items on a “checklist,” meaning items to reconsider after the May Revise when the state’s revenue picture is expected to improve considerably: Senator Brulte asked that they not act on the resident undergraduate student fee freeze because he hopes to be able to reduce student fees by 50%. The committee held over discussion of non-resident student fees pending more information from UC about financial aid. They held over consideration of the $25M to purchase medical equipment for the hospitals. UC needs to convince them that the money will actually be needed and used for the stated purpose rather than used to cover other medical hospital losses.
The Faculty Association presented the following “white paper” to key legislators prior to the hearing and will continue to meet with and present it to key members of the Assembly prior to their hearing next week. We will keep you informed of the progress of the budget.
UCFA “White Paper” re. UC Budget Proposals:
About the Council:
The Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) is a voluntary coalition of approximately 1500 dues-paying members of the University of California Academic Senate. The Council meets regularly with the University Administration to exchange views on selected issues, but it is not a trade union. The mission of the Faculty Associations is to support and safeguard the principles of University governance embodied in the Academic Senate; to improve the economic status and general welfare of the faculty; to consult with the University Administration about salary, benefits and working conditions; and to provide external advocacy on matters pertinent to the interests of the faculty. CUCFA works with the various branches of State government to improve and protect the terms and conditions of employment of Academic Senate members. Council representatives monitor legislative activity and meet with legislators to discuss pending bills and other relevant matters.
CUCFA Position on the UC Budget:
At the moment the Council position on the UC budget is very simply stated: we see the one submitted by the Governor in January as a highly encouraging departure point, but not necessarily the last word. We will very likely wish to revisit certain of its elements when the State’s revenue picture becomes clearer in May.
In the meantime, the Council is sorely troubled by the recent report of the Legislative Analyst, who recommended huge cuts in the Governor’s proposed budgets for higher education in a fiscal year for which State revenues are predicted to outstrip budgeted demand by more than $4 billion.
The most puzzling and damaging recommendation is one to shift some $83 million from the budgets for UC and Hastings College of Law to the K-14 systems. The stated reason–to equalize the percentage base budget increases for “higher” and “lower” education–is surely without precedent, and a truly absurd approach to budgetary policy making. At the proposed marginal cost of instruction ($8554 per FTE student) this cut would be tantamount to eliminating the funding for 9,700 FTE students. The University could not and would not take the cut that way, but instead would greatly reduce or even eliminate faculty and staff salary increases, further defer some critical maintenance projects, pare equipment and library expenditures to the bone, etc.
Within UC the net effect of these actions would be seen as a return to the difficult budgetary climate of the early 1990s at exactly a time when the State is well known to be flush, not strapped. Faculty recruitment would be nearly impossible and retention would be problematic at best; all this when Tidal Wave II is just beginning to break over our heads.
We are also troubled by the LAO’s recommendation to reduce the funding for enrollment growth to a figure equivalent to an additional 4000 FTE students rather than the 6000 FTE students called for by the Governor.
We realize that there are discrepancies among the enrollment increases projected by various State agencies, but what is not arguable is that UC’s budgeted enrollment has never been equal to or greater than the actual enrollment at any time in the 1990’s. It is also true that the ratio of students to faculty across the UC system is the highest in American universities of the first rank. Enrollment funding at the higher figure mentioned above would either maintain the status quo ante if the projection of 6000 is correct, or lower the systemwide student:faculty ratio from 18.7 to 18.5 if it is not. We ask the Legislature not to heed this recommendation.
CUCFA is represented in Sacramento by James W. Bruner of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP. Current Council contacts are listed on the letterhead above. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you from time to time, and welcome your comments and questions
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