Nov. 2-8, 2001
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Pay hikes unlikely, Casteen warns

By Matt Kelly

University President John T. Casteen III warned members of the Faculty Senate last week that if no pay raise is included in a state budget adjustment bill in December, University employees could lose money to inflation.

Last January, Gov. Jim Gilmore and state legislators were unable to agree upon a package of mid-course amendments to the two-year state budget, which would likely have included a pay raise for state employees. The last hope for a raise this year would be if the General Assembly, which next meets again in January, passes a so-called “caboose bill” of amendments to the expiring budget.

Casteen said without such action, University employees’ base pay will have essentially been frozen, leaving them one year behind inflation when raises are calculated for the upcoming two-year budget cycle.

At the meeting, held Oct. 23 in the Colonnade Club’s newly renovated Garden Room, Casteen said the state’s financial outlook was not yet as bad as the budget crisis of 1990-91. But he noted that state revenue projections are lagging, and under law the budget has to be balanced each month. He also noted that the next two-year budget that the outgoing governor will propose in December will contain about $500 million in one-time expenses that must be paid.

The deans have been warned to be careful with discretionary spending and to make some contingency plans, Casteen said, while acknowledging that few budget details are yet available.

The president also discussed his desire for deans to review curricula in the coming year to determine if it is, for students, the logical next step up from what they learned in high school — rather than a review of things they already learned — and whether students can then accelerate through the University at their optimal pace. He said these findings would be very important to high schools.

Casteen fielded questions about the Board of Visitors’ recently approved building plans, which call for the demolition of New Cabell Hall, its replacement with a new building and the construction of another new building in the B-1 parking lot on Jefferson Park Avenue. He said the decision to replace, instead of repair, New Cabell Hall was a practical one.

In other business, the Faculty Senate:

• Heard an Academic Affairs Committee report on dissertation-year fellowships of $20,000 per year for 10 fellows, to be awarded in the 2002-03 academic year.

• Heard Faculty Senate chair Robert Grainger, praise the late state Sen. Emily Couric as a friend of the University and remembered how willing she had been to work with members of the faculty.


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