Legislature: Cuts, caps and salary
By Lee Graves
cuts and tuition caps imposed by the General Assembly have left
officials at U.Va. and other public universities in the state
reassessing their revenues, but the news from Richmond isnt
legislature, which concluded its short session on Saturday, proposed
helping pay for a 2.25 percent salary increase for state classified
employees and faculty in November 2003. However, the increase
depends on tax collections meeting state revenue projections.
move to tie raises to revenues was seen as some including
Gov. Mark Warner as a political ploy in an election year.
Some state workers have not seen salary increases in two years,
although eligible employees received a choice of a one-time bonus
or time off last year.
wonderful the Assembly recognized the need to acknowledge the
contribution of state employees, said Yoke San Reynolds,
president for finance. But we need to be cautious
because the increase is contingent on the state receiving certain
legislators also imposed caps on tuition increases, and for U.Va.
the ceiling amounts to 5 percent for in-state undergrads. The
move limits the Universitys ability to generate revenue
to offset state budget cuts that amounted to about $51.6 million
for 2003-04 before the Assemblys new reductions.
expect that the tuition policy approved by the General Assembly
would allow us to address the scheduled incremental budget reductions
for next year without further reductions to departmental operating
budgets, said Colette Sheehy, vice president for management
at U.Va. and other state schools was frozen in the mid-1990s and
rolled back later by former Gov. Jim Gilmore. Last year, the General
Assembly voted to allow increases, and U.Va.s Board
of Visitors raised tuition and fees in the fall roughly 9
percent. In November, the board added a $385 surcharge for the
current semester, bringing the amount for in-state undergraduate
tuition and fees to $4,941.
the end of the biennium, officials project that the percentage
of state funds that support U.Va.s academic division will
have shrunk to about 13 percent of total revenue.
tuition has been a rallying cry across Grounds this year. In October,
Michael Smith, chairman of the Faculty
Senate, gave an impassioned appeal to the Board of Visitors
to raise tuition to a level that would adequately fund the core
mission of the University while keeping it competitive with other
top public universities.
closing business Saturday on the $52 billion, two-year state budget,
the General Assembly cut an additional $592,750 from U.Va.-related
programs. The reductions included $270,000 from the Medical
Centers Urology Center, $103,480 from the Virginia Foundation
for the Humanities, $70,000 from the Institute for Nuclear and
Particle Physics and $41,600 from the Center for Politics. In
addition, the maintenance reserve fund was cut $1.5 million.
Eminent Scholars Program, at one point considered for a hit of
$3.2 million statewide and $2.2 million at U.Va., was cut $735,000
by the legislature.
has until March 24 to act on the budget bill and other legislation.
The Assembly is scheduled to reconvene April 2 to address any
vetoes or changes.