IET chooses budget cuts that put 'needs of the campus first'

The provost has asked all units to submit budget proposals reflecting the current budget realities. Information and Educational Technology has submitted its proposal to reduce its operating budget between $910,000 and $1.115 million in 2009-10.

"The proposal reflects a set of very difficult decisions that put the needs of the campus first," said IET Vice Provost Pete Siegel. They include six layoffs that start with the new fiscal year on July 1.

The plan, sent to Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Enrique Lavernia on May 4, is available to IET employees. As it did last year, IET will share the proposal with the campus community, including the Campus Council for Information Technology, the Technology Infrastructure Forum, and the Deans' Technology Council.

Earlier this year, the campus budget office assigned cuts to all campus units to help UC Davis cover a nearly $19 million shortfall for 2009-10. Information and Educational Technology was assigned a budget reduction of 5 to 6 percent. The campus also absorbed $33 million in permanent cuts in 2008-09, including a $1.129 million reduction by IET.

Since 2003-04, IET has had to reduce its total budget by approximately $4 million, including the FY 2009-10 reductions. Further budget reductions would significantly affect core services that benefit the campus.

Siegel said IET's directors methodically reviewed each IET program and activity--and identified reductions programmatically, not along administrative unit boundaries--to determine the mix of cuts that best protects critical campus interests. The plan includes one-time and permanent reductions, he said, although most of the one-time cuts "set us down paths not easily reversed."

"As with prior IET budget reduction plans, we have made every possible effort to protect core programs such as the Student Information System, IT in frastructure, and cyber-security," Siegel said. Some of the reductions will end programs, reduce services, and/or slow projects down, with an inevitable impact to the campus. "It will be important to prepare ourselves and the campus community for those impacts," Siegel said in a message to IET staff.

As the campus continues to explore ways to address the budget crisis, it will be important to reconsider the policies that guide the funding of critical and innovative campus technologies. "It is increasingly clear that in order to implement the fundamental changes needed to address these extraordinary budget circumstances, we will need to reconsider many of the historical rules and practices," Siegel noted.

Siegel's letter to Lavernia also included five strategic activities that are not part of the budget submission, but "intersect in a significant way with IET budget planning": consolidation of several business, communications and program activities within IET; identifying a sustainable telecommunications funding model; investigating possible outsourcing options for SmartSite, the campus course management and collaboration system; streamlining the UCDNet3 telecommunications upgrade project; and exploring alternatives to one-time funding of critical infrastructure and security programs.

Continued state budget problems are likely, Siegel said, so more reductions might need to be addressed.

In the last two years, the University of California has taken a $450 million budget hit from the state government as California grapples with a severe economic recession: $115 million in cuts over 2008-09 and 2009-10, $122 million in student enrollments not funded by the state, and $213 million in two years of unfunded costs for utilities, employee health benefits and other unavoidable rising costs. The gap equals 15 percent of the $3 billion in state general funds received by the University of California.

Find more on the IET budget page.