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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Shelton calls for $9.3M in budget cuts

    Academic department funding for the next fiscal year faces uncertain changes as a result of President Robert Shelton’s request for a minimum cut of $9.3 million to the UA’s base budget.

    Provost George Davis and Joel Valdez, senior vice president of business affairs, will submit their proposed cuts to the president’s office this semester after consulting with deans and reviewing college budget requests.

    Shelton announced the plan in a Dec. 15 memorandum to the campus community, detailing a financial situation that had fallen short of expectations.

    “”This is not easy on people, but we have to do it,”” Shelton said.

    The message detailed several factors, such as a shortfall in enrollment and the state-enforced 150 credit-hour limit for students, that have cost the UA $3.8 million. Also, expenses including an increase of enrollment next school year will total $10.6 million.

    The UA is currently operating under a budget

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    Check out more info on where the UA lost money on page 8

    stabilization plan started by former President Peter Likins, which is set to finish in two years.

    Likins’ plan for the UA aims to ensure its permanent expenses are always covered.

    It means the different academic and non-academic departments of the university must stop relying on temporary funds for those expenses, said UA budget director Dick Roberts.

    Why UA needs the cuts

    Fiscal losses from Fall 2006:

    • Enrollment decrease – $500,000
    • 150 Credit Hour Limit – $300,000
    • Indirect Cost Recovery – $1 million
    • New revenue and reallocation -$1 million

    – Losses caused Stabilization Plan to be $3.8 million short

    Projected losses for FY08:

    • Classroom support – additional $1 million
    • Debt service – $500,000.
    • FY07 one-time expenses – need $1 million
    • in permanent budget savings Utilities, O&M, ERE – $8.1 million
    • New expenses will total 10.6 million

    – Source: President Robert Shelton, Budget Management Process Memo

    In order to carry out this plan for this fiscal year, Shelton enacted a $10 million cut over the summer.

    Shelton said this latest reduction is necessary to do the same thing next year.

    “”We’re bringing into alignment our recurring funds with our recurring obligations,”” Shelton said.

    Some programs or departments could be scaled back or cut entirely, Roberts said.

    “”What we know is no organization can continue through the years to do everything it’s always done and then add more,”” Roberts said. “”That simply is not the way the world works, and so we have to make very difficult decisions.””

    The same situation occurred in 2002, when the UA faced a large budget realignment after a national economic downturn.

    During that time, the administration challenged the necessity of both a planning degree program and landscape architecture department.

    Charles Albanese, dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, said an immense show of support from professional landscape architects throughout the state saved the landscape program.

    Lobbying efforts saved the planning degree program as well, though it was reduced in size and moved to the department of geography and regional development.

    Not every program will be so fortunate after this semester is over, but Roberts said money from the cuts to the recurring funds of some departments will be reallocated to those that rely on temporary funds to meet their permanent needs.

    Even though temporary funds fluctuate more from year to year, providing a less stable environment for campus decision makers, many departments are forced to depend on them.

    “”It creates a far more uncertain environment for departments than permanent funds do,”” said Linda Molm, head of the sociology department.

    Molm said she uses temporary funds to hireteaching assistants, graduate student instructors and adjunct professors.

    Roberts said that if those temporary funds were changed to permanent funds, it would allow certain departments to hire more full-time faculty.

    However, Molm said she does not support the reallocation of that money because it was her understanding that the possible new permanent funds could only be used for those things that temporary funds are already used for, not for any new purpose.

    “”It would be a small reduction in uncertainty, but at a cost,”” Molm said.

    Roberts said he thinks new hires could be part of the permanent funding packages, but they would have to fulfill a specific purpose stated to the provost’s office.

    The cuts from next year’s budget will be different in nature than those over the summer, Roberts said.

    The summer cuts were to requested funds, meaning that some departments had to make do with less than what they asked for, but Roberts said Shelton’s new cuts will be more difficult because they affect current operations.

    After all the cuts are finished, though, Roberts said most students won’t see a change in how the university functions.

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