The Regents Map Out Our Budget Future
by Fernando Quintero
Under the proposed budget presented last week to the UC Board of Regents, competitive salaries for faculty would be restored over the next four years, and staff salaries would increase steadily to keep up with inflation.
Calling the new budget proposal "a turning point for the University of California," UC President Jack Peltason said the governor's budget has "essentially the same goals as our own plan for budgetary stability."
The proposal calls for a 2 percent increase--$36.5 million--in operating funds next year, and an average 4 percent increase for each of the following three years.
UC had sought an increase for next year of 7.9 percent, or $145 million. The difference would be made up primarily through lower-than-anticipated salary increases and a temporary $13.3 million budget cut.
For faculty, the proposed budget would provide for 2 percent merit increases and 3 percent Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) next year, with a combination of merits and COLA increases to reach salary levels of comparable institutions by 1999.
Staff would see 2 percent merit increases and 1.5 percent COLA in 1995-96, with a long-term goal of providing the equivalent of salary increases that state employees receive to stay even with inflation.
Other cost-cutting measures outlined in the proposed budget include "productivity improvements" that would save $40 million over the next four years by reducing administrative costs, increasing management efficiency, and using cost-effective technology.
Finally, general student fees would increase by 10 percent for the next four years, with at least one third of the fee revenue set aside for financial aid.
Fees for professional schools would also go up.
With respect to UC's capital budget, the governor proposed providing $160.9 million in state funds for 1995-96, and he made a commitment to provide the campuses with approximately $150 million in capital funding for each of the next three years.
Priority would be given for seismic, safety and infrastructure improvements.
No action was taken on the budget proposal, but several members of the board and newly elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin raised concerns over the proposed student fee increases.
The board will vote on the proposed budget at a future meeting.