U.Va. freezes state-funded jobs,
braces for more budget cuts
bleak financial news from the state and the prospect of additional
budget cuts, the Universitys administration has fine-tuned
the guidelines of a hiring freeze announced July 25 and asked
vice presidents and deans to prepare plans for the equivalent
of a 7 percent reduction in their spending.
fully expect to be asked by the governor to make additional reductions
to our operating budgets in this fiscal year and next, although
at this time we do not know the magnitude of those reductions,
wrote Yoke San L. Reynolds, vice president for finance, and Colette
Sheehy, vice president for management and budget, in a memo distributed
Aug. 1. We believe at this time that planning for a 7 percent
reduction will adequately cover what we might be asked to do.
University anticipated receiving about $141.5 million from the
state in the 2003 fiscal year, which began July 1. That accounts
for about 17 percent of the academic divisions budget.
freeze on state-funded hiring and discretionary spending came
in response to a request on July 23 from Gov. Mark R. Warner for
immediate action from state agency heads in light of a $237 million
shortfall in revenue. Warner also asked his staff to reassess
the revenue picture and said he plans to announce the revisions
on Aug. 19.
is highly likely that any significant budget cut will affect jobs,
Reynolds and Sheehy said, noting that personnel expenses represent
about 60 percent of the Universitys operating budget. Vice
presidents and deans were urged to keep in mind a
variety of tools, ranging from attrition to layoffs, for addressing
personnel expenses as part of their overall reduction plans.
part of budget reduction plans, vice presidents and deans
have been urged to consider a variety of tools for addressing
personnel expenses, which represent about 60 percent of
U.Va.s operating budget. These tools are:
abolishment of vacant positions/attrition
leave without pay for agency convenience (with management
approval, employees can volunteer to take leave without
pay for up to four months)
withdrawal of employment offers
temporary workforce reduction: An agency head may require
classified employees to take leave without pay for up to
four months. Employee health insurance benefits would be
layoffs of classified employees as a last-resort budget
reduction measure (see http://www.hrs. virginia.edu/Policies/emplrel/layoff.html)
termination or reduction of the contractual cycle of general
review of faculty re-appointments (see http://www.virginia.edu/provost/policies.html)
University already has taken measures to deal with a reduction
of $23.4 million in state funds for the 2003 fiscal year. Some
teaching positions have remained unfilled or manned by temporary
faculty, administration and academic budgets have been reduced,
and in April the Board of Visitors increased tuition by about
hiring freeze, announced by Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice
president and chief operating officer, does not apply to positions
that are fully funded by non-state sources, such as through gifts
or hospital revenue.
Medical Center wont be subject to any cuts that the governor
might deliver because they dont get any tax support,
Sheehy said in an interview. But managers there are on alert to
exercise care and caution in spending, and officials have taken
cost-cutting steps, such as reassigning 170 jobs as part of an
effort to save $28 million.
the number of vacancies affected by the freeze is difficult because
funding sources vary for many jobs. Variations from unit to unit
also make it hard to define discretionary spending.
one thing that comes to mind is travel, Sheehy said. For
some units, it could be totally discretionary. On the other hand,
for a school like the School of Continuing and Professional Studies,
if their adjunct faculty or full-time faculty have to drive to
Southwest Virginia, Tidewater or Northern Virginia, thats
not really discretionary.
try to give the managers, deans and department heads the responsibility
for making that judgment, she said.
and other administration officials say they are committed to protecting
the quality of core instructional programs.
have to protect our core mission which is educating students
and find ways to consolidate economies by perhaps combining
activities where possible, said Gene Block, vice president
and provost. We are in a new planning stage, awaiting Aug.
19 when Gov. Warner announces the new revenue forecast.
schools, particularly the College of Arts & Sciences, are
more at risk.
College tends to be more heavily dependent on either tuition or
general fund support for its teaching mission, which is why a
cut does hit them pretty hard, Sheehy said. Other schools
at U.Va. receive a higher proportion of funding from private gifts,
research grants and other non-state sources.
Curry School of Education has nearly $400,000 less in spendable
state money now than it did a year ago, said Robert H. Pate Jr.,
associate dean for administrative services at Curry.
numbers dont tell the whole story. For every faculty spot
that goes unfilled, others have to pick up the load in teaching
and advising students. I think its going to show up
in the very real sense of fatigue, Pate said.
then theres the cumulative effect of years of state cutbacks.
Its not just one year, but after two years or three
years it starts to have a corrosive effect, like a ship going
through the water picking up barnacles.
problem is that it will take a number of years of economic stability
to get back to where we were, much less make progress.
H. Sherman, associate dean for academics in the School of Architecture,
said education is suffering because the growth in private wealth
in the 1990s was not accompanied by public responsibility in the
philosophy of tax cutting.
only good that may come of this is that citizens may finally recognize
that tax cuts have a price, he said.