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State budget cuts bruise university

By David Scharfenberg Daily Planet Staff
Friday September 06, 2002


The University of California fared well in the final state budget signed by Gov. Gray Davis Thursday, taking a relatively minor $108 million cut systemwide.  

The reductions include a $32 million cut in research dollars and a $67 million cut in university-run professional development academies for elementary, middle and high school teachers. 

But with the governor set to make $750 million more in state funding cuts by the end of the fiscal year in June 2003, university officials fear that the nine-campus UC system could face further reductions. 

“The bottom line for us is a lot of uncertainty,” said UC spokesperson Brad Hayward. 

Davis must make more cuts by June because democrats and republicans in the state Legislature, faced with a $24 billion shortfall, were unable to decide on the final $750 million in cuts and agreed to pass the responsibility on to the governor. 

Hans Hemann, legislative director for Assemblywoman Dion Aroner, D-Berkeley, said that Davis has spared the university from heavy cuts so far, and predicted that he will do the same when it comes to the $750 million in future reductions. 

“Considering how well the university system fared in the rest of the budget process, they will do well in that process as well,” he argued.  

The cuts approved Thursday drop UC’s state funding from $3.3 billion last year to $3.2 billion. State dollars account for about one-quarter of UC’s overall budget. 

The reductions include:  

n a $32 million, or 10 percent across-the-board cut in state funding for research 

n a $67 million cut in professional development programs, operated by the university, for K-12 teachers  

n a $10 million cut to a $32 million university-run program that installs high-speed Internet connections in K-12 schools  

n a $7 million reduction in outreach programs to K-12 schools  

n a one-time, $29 million cut from the university’s $150 million budget for equipment, library materials, deferred maintenance and instructional technology. 

The impact of the $108 million in cuts on UC Berkeley is unclear because the reductions apply to universitywide programs. But Hayward said the local campus will be affected. 

“There will be some impact,” he said. 

Hoku Jeffrey, a senator in UC Berkeley’s student government, raised concerns about the cuts in K-12 outreach programs, which are aimed at preparing students to attend UC. Jeffrey said the cuts could hamper the ability of the university to reach out to minority communities and develop a diverse student body.  

The Davis Administration and University of California hope to keep the professional development programs for K-12 teachers up and running by replacing state dollars with new federal funding from President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” legislation. 

But according to Jennifer Kuhn, senior fiscal and policy analyst for the Legislative Analyst’s Office, which advises the Legislature, the federal money in question will go to K-12 school districts across the state, not the university. It will be up to those districts, she said, to decide if they want to spend the money on UC-run professional development programs.