Ramsey unveiled the plan at a budget forum April 12 in the Floyd Theater of the Student Activities Center. He emphasized that the budget is not final; it will be presented for UofL Board of Trustees approval in June.
The budget proposal includes raises of $1,200 for staff who earn $40,000 or less and 3 percent across-the-board raises for staff who earn more than $40,000. Faculty and administrators will receive merit-based raises from a 3 percent salary pool. All raises will be applied to employee’s base salaries and will not be given as a one-time lump payment.
“We made a very high priority of giving faculty and staff raises this year,” Ramsey said.
It wasn’t easy. For the 11th time in 11 years, UofL officials had to work with a cut in state funding. UofL’s 2011-12 state appropriation was reduced by $1.96 million, to $178.6 million. Meanwhile, the university faced more than $9.6 million in increased fixed costs and initiatives critical to its future.
“We started in a significant financial deficit,” Ramsey said. “But we could not use that as an excuse for not moving the university forward.”
A proposed 6 percent tuition increase, as well as some other outside revenue, will cover those critical fixed costs, which include 12 additional faculty positions, increased financial aid and initiatives connected to UofL’s application for membership in Phi Beta Kappa.
Reallocations, cost savings fund raises
Still, the university had to reallocate internal funds and generate revenue and cost savings to cover other priorities, including salary increases.
“Our employees have gone three years without a raise,” Ramsey said. “In some instances, this is an issue of competitiveness, as we have to compete to keep our best faculty. This also is an issue of fairness and appreciation of our employees.”
Ramsey said the university “tightened our belt” to generate the funds necessary to give salary increases. UofL officials identified cost savings or potential fund generation in a number of areas. Much of it comes from a change in administration of its self-funded health insurance plan. Other savings came from surtaxes on individual printers and on program budgets, auxiliaries and service centers; energy savings and sustainability initiatives; and reallocated unused financial aid budgets, among others.