31 August 2009

Show me the money

A document released by UCOP last Friday addresses Employees' Frequently Asked Question on the furlough program. After going through many details concerning the implementation of furloughs, UCOP finally addresses the question:
I’ve read that the furlough plan yields much more than $184 million. Please Clarify.
And, surprisingly, the answer is a stunning vindication of what has been argued on University Probe for almost two months:
Yes, savings from the furlough plan will total more than $184 million. When all UC funds sources are taken into account (UC general funds, auxiliary enterprises, contracts and grants and medical center revenues) the furlough plan yields approximately $515 million.
So the furlough plan will generate $330M in excess of the advertised $184M in general fund savings. So, what does UCOP plan to do with that windfall? Read on:
The additional dollars resulting from the salary reductions in other non-general fund sources will be used to help offset other cost increases and revenue shortfalls in those areas, such as rising costs of technology, utilities and health benefits as well as revenue shortfalls such as cuts in Medi-Cal payments to UC medical centers. To the greatest extent possible, campuses will seek to deploy savings generated from non-general fund sources strategically to address their specific needs and to address the balance of the $813 million state funding shortfall after savings from furloughs/salary reductions are taken into account, consistent with any restrictions on those fund sources.
So, let's see. The State cuts general funds appropriations to the UC by $813M; UCOP announces that 25% of that — the famous $200M — will be taken in salary reductions throught the furlough program, and the remaining $600M and change divided among the campuses to make up through other cuts in their operating budgets. But now it turns out that those were not the actual numbers: $515M will be generated through the furlough program, and the remaining $298M  divided among the ten campuses.

In addition, the campuses will absorb other increased costs (cuts in Medi-Cal payments, rising utilities and benefits costs, etc.). So here is the question: if that was the plan all along, why go through the $200M rigmarole? Just tell UC facuty and staff that they will absorb the bulk of the general fund cuts. But of course that might have appeared — unfair ?

And of course, no figures are available as to what decreased Medi-Cal payments to the medical centers will cost the UC, or what the increased utility and benefits costs will turn out to be.

It would seem that UCOP is out to protect medical centers and other revenue generating operations, and if they have to do this on the backs of faculty and staff across campus, then so be it.

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