UC Davis students pass in front of the Shields library recently. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

UC Davis students pass in front of the Shields library recently. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

Local News

UCD plan calls for 450 layoffs

By February 25, 2011

UC Davis plans to lay off 450 to 500 workers, increase nonresident student enrollment, shut programs and reduce services.

Faced with an estimated $107 million budget shortfall, Chancellor Linda Katehi and Provost Ralph Hexter outlined those and other steps in budget plan submitted Wednesday to University of California President Mark Yudof. The document was made public Friday.

The picture it paints? Not pretty.

It would:

* Reduce opportunities for in-state students;

* Add a new technology fee to students’ growing bill;

* Potentially decrease graduate student support; and

* Shrink outreach money to help close the state’s persistent academic achievement gaps.

Staff and faculty workloads will grow. Staff development training would, for now,  go the way of the dodo.

Another change: The chancellor’s goal of reinvesting into academics and other top priorities the money saved through a “shared services center” now looks less like a boost, and more life a life vest.

The reduction of the state general fund-supported portion of Yolo County’s largest employer might not stop at 15 percent, either, Katehi and Hexter write.

“Further reductions, whether driven by additional state cuts or our structural deficit, will no doubt lead to additional positions being eliminated,” they write. “While we will rely on attrition and re-deployment of employees to other fund-sources on campus to the extent that we can, these cuts will be particularly painful.”

Life won’t get easier for students, either.

“Slowed replacement hiring of faculty combined with (lack of funding by the state for students) here already, an increase in non-resident students, and continued deterioration of department budgets will cause students to have more frequent difficulties in getting into the courses they need and want,” Katehi and Hexter write.

The campus will try to use technology to improve large classes and the like, they write.“Nonetheless, this will undeniably impact our students.”

The budget plan received subdued reviews from staff, faculty and student representatives who have served on a new budget task force.

Bob Powell, chair of the UCD Academic Senate, and Jack Zwald, president of the Associated Students of UCD, said they believe the budget plan largely protects academics and student services.

Things look less bright for staff. Peter Blando, chairman of the UCD Staff Assembly, acknowledged that the cuts facing the campus are “daunting.”

“Needless to say, staff morale, on average, is low as they remain concerned about how the budget reductions would impact their lives and livelihood,” Blando wrote in an e-mail message. “When you look at cost reductions and efficiencies as solutions, that ultimately means someone losing their job or a vacancy not (filled).

“Unfortunately, layoffs have become an annual event at UC Davis and staff continue to look for the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Powell said the budget outline does show “a dramatic turn away” from past practices because it does not explicitly assign cuts to academic units.

Instead, he said, it focuses on efficiency and generating revenue.

“Of course, the devil is in the details and it would be foolish to think that anyone on the campus will be unaffected by a reduction as severe as the one being proposed by the governor,” Powell wrote in an e-mail message.

State is the key

All planning hangs on the future of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to deal with the state’s deficit.

His proposal cuts $500 million from UC. Importantly, it takes as ongoing both $199 million in general fund money restored in the 2010-11 budget and $106 million in federal stimulus money.

UCD’s planners aren’t counting on more stimulus money.

Their Plan A does rely on voters approving the extension of “temporary” taxes for five years. That assumes Brown can squeeze out the Republican support he needs to get that onto the June ballot.

If he doesn’t, or if voters say “no” to the extensions, the budget hit to UC could reach $1 billion, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

For now, UCD has no Plan B.

Its planners based their work on a shortfall composed of a $73 million state cut, $26 million in fixed-cost increases (pensions, health care costs, collective bargaining agreements) and putting aside $8 million to address lagging salaries for unrepresented employees and those whose unions remain in negotiations.

Once UCD takes into account the money restored by the Legislature in the 2010-11 budget, income from the 2011-12 student fee increase approved by the Board of Regents last November and a share of planned systemwide savings efforts, the campus pegs its remaining shortfall at $68 million.

Cuts envisioned

Here’s where much of that money would come from:

* Reducing expenses, eliminating subsidies and reducing service levels, saving $9 million to $10 million in 2011-12, and $20 million in 2013-14. This would lead to program closures and layoff of employees paid with state general funds.

No list of programs that might be cut has yet been drawn up, said Kelly Ratliff, associate vice chancellor for budget resource management.

* Expanding and accelerating shared service centers, saving $2 million to $3 million in 2011-12 and $10 million to $12 million in 2013-14.

The center as drawn up now is aimed at bringing financial, information technology and human resources functions together and making more use of technology to cuts costs and improve service.

* Increasing non-resident enrollment by “at least” 375 students while holding resident and transfer enrollment flat. Doing so would generate $4 million this year and $10 million in 2013-14.

It would continue the campus’ trend of admitting fewer qualified students, however, even as the number of applications grows. The admission rate has dropped from 67.8 percent to 44.9 percent in four years, Hexter and Katehi write.

* Reducing energy consumption with a goal of saving $3 million to $4 million in 2011-12 and $5 million to $6 million in 2013-14. The campus is 18 months into a four-year partnership with utility companies to do just that.

So far, Ratliff said, it’s been a huge success — putting the campus ahead $6 million on its energy costs this year.

* Trimming middle management and other leadership by 40 to 60 positions, saving $4 million to $5 million this year and $5 million to $6 million in 2013-14.

* Increasing summer session enrollment, bringing in $4 million in 2011-12 and $5 million to $6 million in 2013-14.

Students increasingly will need to enroll in summer classes as course offerings grow more limited during the rest of the academic year, Hexter and Katehi write.

A new student fee

* Imposing a course material fee for technology support, generating $1 million to $2 million in 2011-13 and $3 million in 2013-14.

That would be yet another cost for students. Undergraduate residents not covered by UC’s Blue and Gold assistance program are facing an $822 tuition increase next fall.

Total annual fees have more than doubled since 2003-04, reaching $13,092 for resident undergraduates in 2011-12.

* Eliminating voluntary cost-sharing for research, saving $1 million to $2 million in 2011-12 and $3 million in 2013-14.

UCD would use grant money from federal and other sources to pay for the time of faculty. That could make UCD less competitive in some grant applications. And money used now to pay graduate students or to go toward supplies could be lost to salaries, Ratliff said.

* Expanding non-degree education programs, like executive courses and certificate programs, and increasing professional degree fees. The effort, which would increase faculty and staff workload, could bring in $1 million to $2 million in 2011-13 and $3 million in 2013-14.

* Eliminate funding for staff development and training, saving $1 million to $2 million per year.

* Cutting 10 to 20 percent funding for the Student Academic Preparation and Educational Partnerships outreach program, saving $500,000 to $1 million in 2011-12. The program seeks to improve student achievement and address ongoing achievement gaps.

Zwald, the president of ASUCD, called that last item his biggest concern.

“UC cannot afford to step back from its mission of recruiting from underrepresented groups and now, more than ever, California students need to know that a UC education is still affordable and attainable,” he wrote in an e-mail message.

Other possible moves are still being analyzed, and planners continue to take suggestions through the campus website.

One area that may yield savings is the consolidation or outsourcing of services that aren’t unique to the campus or central to its mission. Consolidating the UCD Fire Department with the city of Davis is one example.


Katehi released the document along with a letter to a campus that over the past three years has taken $222 million in state cuts, resulting in record student fee hikes, layoffs, faculty and staff furloughs and reductions almost across the board.

In it, she put on a brave face.

“The state’s ongoing financial crisis means reductions in some areas,” she wrote. “Please keep in mind that there are also opportunities for investment and growth in other areas, as we have demonstrated over the last three years. Even in the midst of a difficult economy locally and globally, our university has continued to excel and reach new heights.”

— Online: http://budgetnews.ucdavis.edu.

— Reach Cory Golden at [email protected] or (530) 747-8046. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
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