UC Regents approve 2001-02 funding proposals, Underhill projects
New budget would expand childcare, grad student support

By Cathy Cockrell, Public Affairs

29 NOV 2000 | At its Nov. 15 and 16 meeting in Los Angeles, the UC Board of Regents approved wage and benefit improvements for university employees in the 2001-02 budget proposal it will send to the state legislature and governor.

Under the budget plan approved by the regents, UC's state-funded operating budget would rise 7.7 percent to $3.45 billion. The university's total budget, excluding the three UC-operated national labs, would be approximately $12.5 billion.

The regents also certified the final environmental impact report on Berkeley's Underhill area projects, clearing the way for construction to begin this winter.

They also extended UC retirement benefits to certain "casual" employees, while postponing discussion until January on a slate of other proposals to enhance the UC retirement plan.

Underhill area projects

The regents' Committee on Grounds and Buildings certified the final environmental impact report on the Underhill area projects. It also approved the design of two of the projects - a 120-bed apartment-style complex for student housing at College and Durant and a new central dining facility.

The Underhill area includes a five-block area on campus's south side, bounded by College Avenue, Channing Way, Bowditch Street and Haste Street.

In all, the comprehensive plan calls for three multistory residence halls and two apartment-style complexes to house up to 900 students. It will also include a sports and recreation field atop a three-story parking garage (which adds 575 spaces to the 425 spaces currently accommodated on the Underhill lot) and a new centrally located dining hall to replace seismically unsafe dining areas in Units 1 and 2.

In December, the campus plans to move a small historic building, Fox Cottage, from its current location at 2612 Channing St. as a first step in implementing Underhill plans.

Proposed 2001-02 UC budget

The budget proposal for fiscal year 2001-2002 would provide a pool of funds for employee salary increases, which includes merit increases and market adjustments similar to last year.

An augmentation in the 2000-01 budget provided $19 million for salaries of lower-paid staff employees. These increases varied based on the results of collective bargaining for union-represented employees.

Faculty will also be given an additional increase to help keep their salaries competitive with those of UC's comparison institutions across the country.

The university is also requesting $20 million for expanded childcare facilities at the campuses. About 2,000 children of UC staff, faculty and students currently use these facilities. If approved, the funds would allow UC to offer childcare services to 1,000 more children a year. Childcare provisions are an important element of the university's recruitment and retention strategy.

The proposed budget also includes funds to enhance support for graduate students; enroll 1,000 additional undergraduate and graduate students in engineering and computer science and 500 additional students in teacher credential programs; admit an additional 5,700 students in 2001-02; help more students transfer to UC from community colleges; support outreach and student retention programs; and expand summer instruction.

An $8 million increase to the $6 million provided in the 2000-01 fiscal year would support efforts to improve undergraduate education by reducing class sizes and providing more research opportunities and academic advising.

In accord with voter-approved Proposition 1A, the Regents approved a $203 million bond-funded capital improvements budget. The funds would help replace aging facilities, renovate seismically vulnerable buildings and build new facilities to accommodate enrollment growth.

Spending decisions for the 2001-02 fiscal year will be finalized after the governor and legislature complete the state budget process next year.

Retirement benefits

Another initiative approved by the regents is a program to expand UC retirement plan eligibility to certain casual employees who work enough hours to qualify, with exceptions for per diem, temporary pool and student employees.

"Casual" employees who have accumulated 1,000 hours during a rolling 12-month period will now be eligible for UC retirement benefits.

In addition, there will be a supplemental allocation of service credit in the future to individuals employed at the university on Jan. 1, 2001, and who have previously worked for the university in a casual appointment. Details on this provision will be announced in the near future.

Pending further analysis, the regents postponed a discussion of a broad slate of changes to the retirement system-including liberalized age factors, reduced vesting period and increased portability. The regents did act to improve the age factors for police and firefighters.

Tobacco stocks

The board received comment from financial experts, health groups and members of the public as part of its evaluation of a potential investment policy that might add $55 million worth of tobacco stock to its investment portfolio. The discussion continues, and regents may vote on the issue at their January meeting.

The issue has arisen as UC diversifies its $52.9 billion portfolio by investing a total of about $11.6 billion in broad-market index funds that use the Russell 3000 and Morgan Stanley EAFE as benchmarks. These indices include a handful of tobacco stocks, representing about one-half of one percent of each index. The university's portfolio includes the pension fund for 136,000 active and retired employee members.

See or for details on the November regents meeting.

Related story: Cottage on the move





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