In his proposed budget issued Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced increased funding for student enrollment growth at the University of California, increases in UC faculty and staff wages, and additional spending toward the opening of the Merced campus.
The governor’s proposal adds $97.5 million in state general funds for UC operations, a 3.6 percent increase over the 2004-05 fiscal year. UC’s stated funded operating budget for 2005-06 totals $2.806 billion under Schwarzenegger’s proposal.
“The governor’s overall budget proposal for UC is very welcome after years of cuts,” UC President Robert C. Dynes said in a statement.
In accordance with a compact reached in May of 2004 between the governor and UC, funding has been allocated for the enrollment of 5,000 additional full-time students in 2005-06. The UC has seen a 15-percent cut in state funding and a 19-percent increase in enrollments over the last four years.
According to a UC press release, eligible faculty, staff members and academic merit programs will receive a 1.5-percent general increase in salary. Also, eligible staff employees will receive a 1.5-percent, merit-based salary increase and additional funds to help cover employee health benefits.
The May compact cut about $33 million in state funds from UC outreach programs, leaving only $17 million to fund such programs for the 2004-05 budget process. However, Schwarzenegger’s new proposal removes that one-time $17 million allocation, leaving UC outreach programs completely unfunded.
“While we understand that the state’s fiscal condition is still serious,” Dynes wrote in a statement, “we intend to work with the governor and legislature over the course of the budget process to demonstrate the importance of these [outreach] programs and to seek restoration of this funding.”
Lance Tackett, Associated Students Student Lobby chair, said he is worried about the $17 million cut.
“[Associated Students] is still waiting on UCSA [University of California Student Association] analysis, but we’re expecting it won’t be good,” Tackett said.
Other aspects of the budget proposal include a continuation of $10 million in ongoing operating funds for UC Merced and an additional one-time allocation of $14 million to the new campus’ opening in fall 2005.
Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal will be reviewed by the legislature in the spring, and a final decision by both the governor and the legislature is expected to be made by the summer.