Gov. Rell has proposed a one-year delay in the UCONN 2000 program – and is proposing legislation that would require public colleges and universities to obtain prior state approval to fill positions.
To Members of the UConn Community,
I am writing to share with you information concerning Gov. Rell’s proposed budget for the next biennium (FY2010 and FY2011) and its impact on the University of Connecticut.
The budget recommendations Gov. Rell released yesterday reflect the extremely severe economic conditions which pervade our nation and our state.
The Storrs-based budget already was directly impacted by the state’s declining revenues, having incurred a 3 percent rescission in the current fiscal year.
Over the next biennium, Gov. Rell proposes funding levels for the Storrs-based budget (which includes funding for the Regional Campuses and Schools of Law and Social Work) that are below this year’s levels.
The proposed appropriations equate to 9.2 percent and 13.1 percent reductions for FY2010 and FY2011, respectively, in state support needed to maintain currently provided services.
For the Health Center, the proposed budgets are above this year’s support level, but are $6.6 million and $12 million below the amounts needed to continue current service levels.
While we have been preparing for the reality of declining state support, we also are compelled to meet the needs of our students, patients and faculty.
UConn is a vital state asset that plays a critical role in addressing our economic crisis in the short-term and ensuring Connecticut’s economic viability in the long-term. Investing in UConn is investing in our state’s future by educating our high-achieving students, providing Connecticut with a highly qualified workforce, and conducting research that serves as a catalyst for innovation, product development and job creation.
As we work through strategies to address these dramatic cuts, to the extent possible, we are committed to protecting financial aid to ensure access to our outstanding programs for those students with the greatest need for assistance.
As a general principle, protecting program quality and accessibility are foremost. Yet, we recognize that cuts of this magnitude would necessitate sacrifices by all.
We are concerned about two additional recommendations.
Gov. Rell has proposed a one-year delay in the UCONN 2000 program. It is too early to determine whether the state’s financial savings can be achieved without disrupting our construction program.
Gov. Rell also is proposing legislation that would require public colleges and universities to obtain prior state approval to fill positions. For more than 15 years, the University has had the authority to fill positions in accordance with our priorities. A return to this past practice would remove local decision-making, limit our ability to compete for talented faculty and staff, add to the state’s bureaucracy, and impair operating efficiency.
With the release of the Governor’s proposed budget, the General Assembly’s process for adopting the next biennial budget begins. Certainly, the state’s volatile economic conditions will affect the final budgetary decisions our elected leadership will make.
Please be assured we will highlight to our state’s elected leadership how critical UConn is to Connecticut’s future and the value of continued investment – even in these difficult economic times. I will continue to keep you informed as additional information becomes available.
Michael J. Hogan
President, University of Connecticut
For more details: http://mansfield.htnp.com/opinion/op-ed/02062009_uconn_