Friday, July 17, 2009

UCSB to decrease enrollment, cut salaries, institute furloughs


July 17, 2009 7:02 AM

The University of California's governing board has approved an emergency budget plan that will force tens of thousands of employees to take furloughs and pay cuts.

The UC Board of Regents voted Thursday to furlough up to 80 percent of the university's 180,000 workers to help address a $813 million budget shortfall caused by deep cuts in state funding. The overall goal of the plan is to achieve an estimated $184.1 million in payroll savings from general funds for 12 months, beginning on Sept. 1, 2009.

At UC Santa Barbara, a minimum of $45 million will need to be cut, according to a statement from UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang.

"We have been in a continuous cycle of budget reductions since 2003," said the chancellor.

This $45 million, however, is three times last year's reduction.

Since 2003, the campus' reduction in state funding has totaled $102 million, or 30 percent of its current-year state budget.

In order to offset some of these lost revenues, UCSB is reducing its enrollment rates to the level it held in the 2007-08 school year and will maintain this rate until at least the 2014-15 school year.

"We expect to decrease enrollment by more than 600 students below our current projected 2009-10 enrollment level for the next five years," said Mr. Yang.

A significant amount of state funding to UCSB has been lost, and according to Mr. Yang, the state will not provide new funding for the 2009-10 school year.

"While we are still interested in the long-term goals outlined in our Long Range Development Plan, the worsening budget climate will force our trajectory to be one of contraction rather than growth in the near term," he said. "I am deeply concerned about the unprecedented sacrifices that members of our UCSB family are being asked to make."

Under the plan, employees will see their salaries reduced by 4 percent to 10 percent and will take between 11 and 26 furlough days a year, with higher-paid employees taking larger pay cuts and getting more time off. The administration still needs to reach agreements on furloughs affecting union represented employees which accounts for about a third of those affected.

The furloughs are expected to cover about a quarter of the university's budget deficit. The remainder will be addressed by a previously approved student fee increase, debt refinancing and major cuts at individual campuses, which are already laying off staff, increasing class sizes and eliminating academic programs.

UC officials say the furloughs are intended to cut payroll costs, preserve pension benefits and prevent more widespread layoffs.

Employees ranging from janitors and clerical workers to professors and chancellors will be required to take furloughs, but there will be exemptions for several groups, including most students, workers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and researchers paid with outside funding.

UCSB is one of the 10 universities that make up the UC system. The campus system, one of the country's leading public universities, is just one of many institutions being rocked by California's budget crisis.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature are struggling to close a $26 billion budget gap that is forcing deep cuts to education, health care and state services.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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