Funding proposals presented to Regents

Erin Ghere

In laying out his budget for the 1999-2000 school year last week, University President Mark Yudof made up for the $79 million shortfall in funding the University received from the Legislature this year.
Yudof’s biggest concern in his presentation Thursday to the Board of Regents was faculty member pay raises. The University ranked 20th among national research universities in faculty pay rates for 1998-99.
Yudof requested $198 million for University programs over the next two years, but only received $119 million, including about $16 million from state tobacco endowments.
“Clearly we fell short of our aspirations,” said Robert Bruininks, University vice president and provost, of the budget. “We would have liked more funding for faculty and staff compensation, we would have liked more funding for undergraduate initiates,” he said.
According to the budget, the University will use $55.9 million in unrestricted new funding from the Legislature for the 1999-2000 academic year, which will be directed toward Yudof’s five original budget initiatives: faculty compensation, the undergraduate experience, health professional education, connecting the University to the outside community and building maintenance.
Also included in next year’s budget is $10.8 million in restricted funding, which the Legislature allotted for specific purposes. Of the total amount, $8 million will be used for Academic Health Center programs. The other $2.8 million has been allocated for University projects in agricultural/extension, health science, Institute of Technology and systems specials. Included under the umbrella of systems specials are about 30 small allocations for general projects.
The regents will meet for a special meeting June 28 to decide whether to accept the new budget.
The breakdown for the University’s 1999-2000 budget allocates funding for a 3 percent pay raise for faculty and staff members, $2.1 million to hire eight new faculty members and to facilitate freshman seminars, and $8 million to revitalize Academic Health Center programs.
Yudof requested funding for a 5 percent pay raise, though he said the funding shows “tremendous support” from legislators.
“We had hoped to do better than 3 percent,” said Richard Pfutzenreuter, University chief financial officer. However, he said the University did well considering that the legislative session was very focused on tax refunds.
The allocation for faculty and staff pay raises — $69 million over two years — represents 61 percent of the University’s total budget.
Along with the funding for freshman seminars, funding was recommended for study abroad and research opportunities, library enhancements, increasing technology in classrooms, faculty technology training and to enrich the undergraduate experience.
Of the $8 million allocated for health professional education, $4.7 million will be spent on programs to strengthen health education and $3.3 million to shift focus to a community- and population-based system.