The university will seek an additional $92 million in state funding for next year to help alleviate this year’s cutbacks.
Some of the increase would go to faculty and staff raises, which were not given this year because of an $89 million deficit caused by the effects of a state budget crisis.
"We’ve got to plug some holes that were created with the budget cut," said Chester Gardner, university vice president for academic affairs.
At the UI Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 12 in Chicago, chairman Gerald Shea asked fellow trustees to approve a 3 percent faculty and staff raise for this fiscal year, saying he had found extra money in the budget.
"We have talked about faculty and staff being the backbone of this university," Shea said. "It may be a little tough, but I think we owe it to the faculty and staff to give them this modest increase."
While other trustees agreed that the faculty and staff deserve a raise, they said the money is not in the budget and drastic measures would be necessary to implement such an increase.
The measure was voted down, 9-1.
University of Illinois President James J. Stukel said all the money for the current budget year has been allocated.
"We would love to be able to give our employees a pay raise," he said. "These monies are just not available."
The university’s complicated budget does not allow for switching money between certain funds. Donations, gifts and research dollars are given with specific conditions. For this reason, the university does not have a large amount of expendable cash.
Stukel said he would rather plan for salary increases in the 2004 budget. All three campus chancellors said if a salary increase was passed now it would mean layoffs, possibly up to 300 positions among the three campuses.
"If we do this, we would have to increase staff layoffs or build a structural deficit into the budget," UIC Chancellor Sylvia Manning said.
If the state does not increase its allocation next year, trustees said the university will face difficult decisions about its priorities.
"I’m not convinced we won’t have to pick our poison," trustee Thomas Lamont said.
Stephen Rugg, university vice president for administration, cautioned that funds are not evenly spread across the three campuses, so one campus could be more affected than another.
"We must do all we can to ensure strength and stability even as economic instability continues," Stukel said.
The board approved an operating budget for this year of $3.05 billion, 6 percent more than last year.
Total revenues are up despite cuts in the state budget that translated into a 5.7 percent loss in direct state revenue for the university. Direct taxpayer support is
$758 million, down from $804 million last year. In addition, for the second year
$25 million in direct tax support was redirected from college and department budgets to help pay for employee health insurance costs usually covered by the Illinois Department of Central Management Services.
The decline in state money was offset by increases in tuition on the three campuses. In addition, the university received $78 million more in contracts and grants for research projects. Some self-supporting programs, such as the hospital, student housing, the student unions, parking and others also had a slight improvement in revenues.
The spending plan for this year gives Stukel authority to make budget adjustments up to $2 million where necessary. Programmatic budget adjustments greater than $2 million will require trustee approval and adjustments from $1 million to $2 million must be reported to the board. Other expenditure reports will be given to the trustees quarterly rather than annually.