All the signs are pointing to a major announcement by the University of California, possibly as early as tomorrow, in response to the large cuts in state funding in its next fiscal year, which begins July 1. The UC total budget of $19 billion includes core state funding which will be reduced from $3.3 to $2.8 billion, representing a 10% cut in state funding, which was 17% of the total university funding this year. On the table are furloughs, pay cuts, and staff reductions, some mix of which now seems inevitable.
The UC system has ten campuses, centrally administered from the UC Office of the President in Oakland. Earlier this spring the UCOP paved the way for legal authority to enact emergency measures in the face of fiscal emergencies such as this. Every department in the the entire system has been struggling to meet large budget reductions already, but the demise of the state ballot Propositions 1a and 1b meant that the reductions for the 2009/10 year were greater than hoped.
Then, on Friday, UC president Mark Yudof announced a 5% pay cut for senior management, down to the level of Vice Chancellors at each campus. It therefore seems rather likely that a general 5% reduction in some form is in the offing. The 23-campus California State University system faces a similar situation.
Overall, this is not that bad when you consider the fact that 235,000 California state workers will face a 14% pay reduction, and the the US economy as a whole is still shedding well over half a million jobs per month. But then, as the Chronicle of Higher Education asks, will higher education be the next bubble to burst?