21, No. 2, July 19, 2001
UI looks for 8 percent increase
in state funds for 2003
proposal would cut employee SURS contribution and increase states
Chamberlain, News Bureau Staff Writer
(217) 333-2894; firstname.lastname@example.org
are planning to ask for an increase of almost 8 percent in state operating
funds for the 2003 fiscal year, which starts next July.
The request is warranted, said Chester S. Gardner, UI vice president
for academic affairs, to meet a variety of university needs, among them
an ongoing need to improve salaries and benefits.
Gardners comments came as part of a preliminary review of budget
issues at the July 12 meeting of the UI Board of Trustees in Urbana.
The final budget request will be presented and approved at the September
About half of the $85.6 million projected increase, or about $43 million,
would go toward "continuing components," Gardner said.
Among those components is compensation, where the university plans to
ask for a 3 percent increase for salaries, and another 1 percent increase
for recruiting and retaining key faculty members.
Yet another 1 percent would go toward replacing part of the contribution
that most UI employees pay into the State Universities Retirement System
(SURS), in effect giving those employees an additional 1-percent increase
If approved by the state, it would be the first year in a four-year
plan to cut in half the employee contribution into the SURS system,
shifting that responsibility to the state, Gardner said.
Currently, employees paying into the SURS system are required to contribute
8 percent of their salaries, which is matched by 8 percent from the
state. Under the plan, that balance would be shifted toward the state
by 1 percentage point each year for four years. This would result in
employees then contributing only 4 percent, matched by 12 percent from
"Our faculty have been lobbying for a number of years for an improvement
in benefits, and we feel this is an excellent way to begin that,"
Gardner said. Employees would see the same amount of money go toward
their retirement, but with a 4 percent overall increase in pay.
In comments after the meeting, Gardner noted that there was precedent
for the plan. The 4-to-12 contribution formula is the one used by the
State Employees Retirement System (SERS), he said. "What we are
proposing is to move the State Universities Retirement System in this
Also under the category of continuing components, the university is
proposing a 3 percent increase for general costs, 4 percent for utilities
costs, and 5 percent for the library.
At the top of the universitys request in other areas for operating
funds is $16 million for a major remodeling fund. Another $2 million
is being requested for continuing work on UI-Integrate, the project
to update and integrate various administrative database and computer
In the universitys capital funds request, the current plan is
to ask for $95.6 million from the Illinois VentureTECH program for various
building projects tied to economic development. Another $79.0 million
would be requested in the regular capital budget, and $25 million to
finish the College of Medicine building at UIC.
One major item not yet incorporated into the budget concerns medical
malpractice insurance, and Craig S. Bazzani, UI vice president for administration,
spent several minutes at the board meeting explaining how recent developments
have significantly increased the universitys costs in that area.
Even with a change of insurance providers, the university will be paying
significantly more this year for the same coverage, Bazzani explained.
Last years total cost was $14.5 million, and this years
will be $23 million.
As a result, "what we once thought was a budget in balance now
looks a little sideways," he said.
In other actions, the board convened as the sole member of the UIHMO,
and with no discussion quickly voted the HMO out of existence.