With the rejection of Propositions 1A through 1E in Tuesday’s statewide special election, the University of California must deal with another spike in its ever-growing budget gap, officials say.
The failed propositions were meant to balance the current fiscal year budget and lend stability to next year’s budget through a variety of approaches that included siphoning money from surpluses in funds meant specifically for mental health and education. As five of the six propositions on the ballot did not pass – 1F did pass, however, guaranteeing that certain state officials cannot receive pay raises in years when California has a budget deficit – the state’s general fund and rainy day fund have been dragged into deeper deficit.
Before the voters turned down propositions 1A through 1E, the UC’s state funding was assigned a $510 million cut for the 2008-09 fiscal year, according to a UC press release. However, this state funding was replaced by $640 million of federal stimulus money – with $510 million for use in the UC’s 2008-09 budget and the remaining $130 million going towards the 2009-10 budget.
The failure of the five propositions on Tuesday, then, dealt another blow of $50 million in state funding cuts to the UC and $31 million to the institution’s academic preparation programs.
In total, the press release stated, the failed propositions contribute to a 10 percent net budget reduction – about $322 million – for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Factoring in the added deficit from under-funding of student enrollment and cost inflation, the UC system will face an immediate budget gap of $531 million. The UC currently operates under a $3.2 billion state-funded budget.
Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas, co-chair of the UCSB Coordinating Committee on Budget Strategy, said he anticipated budget cuts to increase for the next school year in light of the state’s ballooning deficit.
“The current projected state deficit for 2009-10 is $15.4 billion,” Lucas said in an email. “[Since] the propositions [did] not pass, the [state] deficit will swell to $21.2 billion.”
While no concrete decisions have been made, the failure of Propositions 1A through 1E could cause losses for the UC such as enrollment reductions, narrowed course options, larger class sizes, pay cuts for UC employees and increased student fees, Lucas said.
“Everyone planned for cuts this year, assuming we would have cuts next year,” Lucas said. “We all know another round of cuts will be extremely painful all across the campus.”
Joel Michaelsen, geography professor and co-chair of the UCSB Coordinating Committee on Budget Strategy, said he anticipates a large cut in student services, citing examples such as decreased hours of operation at campus facilities like the UCen and Davidson Library.
“We were pretty well aware that there would be some cuts next year and we were assuming they would be roughly similar to the magnitude of the cuts from this year, but it now looks like they’ll be much worse than we were hoping,” Michaelsen said. “So that’ll mean cutting in just about every area of our activities.”