Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s call for a $190 million budget cut across all state agencies has left the UC system with $33.1 million in midyear budget slashing to do.
“We haven’t gotten the definite letter from the Office of the President yet, but we’re predicting our share will be $5 million,” said Barbara Horwitz, interim provost and executive vice chancellor.
UCD generally gets 15 percent of the UC’s cuts – the same as the campus‘ share of what the UC system receives from the state general fund, said Kelly Ratliff, associate vice chancellor in the Office of Resource Management and Planning.
The estimated $5 million cut will be met by an assessment or belt tightening, in the campus‘ self-supporting units – mostly administrative units where goods and services are sold outside the university.
“This includes the MU, Student Housing, TAPS, Reprographics – anything that brings in money and pays their own expenses – units that can run without an appropriation from the state general fund,” Ratliff said.
Academic units are not targeted by the assessment, Horwitz said. While they may be affected indirectly due to the decrease in self-supporting units they rely on, they need not fear cuts.
Horwitz said the issue arose because the UC’s state funding remained the same – meaning it remained unbalanced and didn’t allow for the increased cost of existing services and growing student enrollment.
“We knew we’d have to cut more than the original $28 million shortfall because the budget wasn’t totally balanced and left our savings to be identified later,” she said.
Ratliff explained this was predicted as far back as May, when Vice Chancellor of Resource and Management Planning John Meyer issued a letter hinting it might be necessary to implement this kind of cut and asking the effected units to identify potential consequences. Since then enough funds were identified to balance the original $28 million shortfall from the budget, without having to make a decision on the self-supporting units, Ratliff said.
“But once the Office of Resource Management and Planning was notified the mid-year cut would be as great as $5 million, running an assessment on self-supporting units became the solution,” Ratliff said.
The Office of Resource Management Planning will review the bookkeeping of the self-sustaining units to make sure they’re operating as efficiently as possible either quarterly or biannually.
“Most people were planning on it and knew it would happen – so the news didn’t affect people’s preparation – it just confirmed the assessment’s implementation,” Ratliff said.
Horwitz said she is confidant the campus has the $5 million covered through the assessment, but said more creativity will be needed in the future. This is one of the reasons why students, faculty and staff were invited to propose ideas in an online budget forum on SmartSite last spring and summer, in which more than 300 ideas were submitted.
“We’ve assigned a group to look at the community’s solutions and group them into what we can implement right away and those that would need to be done later after some modification,” Horwitz said. “We try to work short- and long-term – and this $5 million is far from the end of the story.“
MIKE DORSEY can be reached at email@example.com