A preliminary fiscal year 2009 operating budget for the UI with a 1.5 percent salary increase was presented to the UI Board of Trustees at its May 22 meeting at UIC.
University administrators say soaring energy costs and a proposed state budget with no operating revenue increase have put a squeeze on salaries. However, two trustees suggested the university find resources to provide an increase of at least 3 percent in the final budget, which will be presented at the board’s July 24 meeting.
In a new state budget, adopted by the legislature and pending final approval by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the UI would receive an increase of $19.9 million, or 2.76 percent, in its base operating appropriation from the state for FY09.
The university’s proposed $4.1 billion budget includes an additional $48.3 million in revenue from an increase in tuition and other fees approved by trustees March 26, and $7.1 million from the Academic Facilities Maintenance Fund Assessment, a student assessment approved in 2006 that is being phased in over four years to address deferred maintenance on the three campuses.
University budget priorities include academic quality, financial aid and deferred maintenance, said Walter Knorr, university vice president and chief financial officer.
Increased utilities costs, primarily for natural gas, are a growing burden, Knorr said. “We are facing $113 million in actual costs for utilities in 2008,” he said.
The FY09 budget includes $120 million for utilities; the 2007 energy budget was $100 million, he said.
Trustees reviewed, but did not approve, the design of a proposed Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory on the south part of the campus, directing architects Austin AECOM to include options for higher energy efficiency ratings. The building would be part of a complex that includes the Agriculture Engineering Sciences Building, the Agricultural Bioprocess Laboratory and the Burnsides Research Lab. Funds for the building – $18.9 million – are included in Blagojevich’s proposed capital budget.
Trustees approved the creation of a new University Related Organization to facilitate collaborative research between the College of Engineering and A*STAR, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore.
Called UI Singapore Research LLC, the organization will allow the university to receive grant funds and negotiate contracts while limiting the university’s liability in the Singapore court system jurisdiction.
The collaboration could mean up to $50 million in grant opportunities over five years and expanded high-profile research opportunities for engineering faculty members, university administrators said.
Trustees also approved the appointment of Ralph Brubaker, professor and associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Law, as interim dean. Brubaker, who succeeds interim dean Charles Tabb, is the Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Faculty Scholar.