The University of California may face further financial woes if the $65.5 million in mid-year state budget cuts proposed yesterday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are approved.
When combined with the already finalized $48 million year-over-year reduction in the UC budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year, the newly proposed cut would bring this year’s cutback to $113.5 million. According to a UC press release, the slashed funding will force universities system-wide to offer fewer course sections, increase class sizes and reduce hours of operation for libraries and student services. In addition, the university will resort to hiring more lecturers in place of ladder-rank faculty and to trimming back on academic and administrative programs.
UC President Mark G. Yudof said the UC is frustrated by the mid-year budget cuts proposed by the governor and the effect the decrease in funding will have on the University’s quality of education.
“We are, of course, disappointed to be facing another potential budget cut on top of the reductions we are already making this year,” Yudof said in a press release. “We believe higher education is crucial to California’s ability to grow its way out of this economic downturn, and we ultimately need to be talking about ways to improve investment in our state’s human capital.”
In response to the current budget cuts, the Office of the President has reduced expenses and UC campuses have been asked to curb hiring, travel, consulting services, energy costs and similar expenditures. The final 2008-09 budget leaves it up to the University to raise $100 million in savings to cover growth in student enrollment and increases in fixed costs not funded by the state.
According to yesterday’s press release, Schwarzenegger has suggested $4.5 billion in spending reductions across state government and $4.7 billion in revenue increases to address the state’s deficit.
Yudof said he would discuss the current budget crisis at the regents meeting this month in order to form a plan of action.
“We also recognize the severity of the state’s immediate fiscal condition and understand the need to play a constructive role in the solution,” Yudof said. “Actions that we take will, of course, be dependent on the budget actions ultimately approved by the legislature and governor, and the Board of Regents will need to discuss these issues at their November meeting, as well.”