Merit-based salary increases approved, despite tight budget

Although the University of Illinois faces a reduction in its state appropriation, careful fiscal planning means a 2 percent merit-based salary increase for employees for the upcoming academic year, which begins Aug. 16.

“The bottom line is that while the budget news is not good, we had been preparing for worse,” Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares and Lon Kaufman, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, said in a July 16 email to campus.

For fiscal year 2013, which began July 1, UIC’s state appropriation will be reduced by about $15 million. Total state appropriations for the university are $612 million; UIC’s share is $218 million.

Last fiscal year, the state cut UIC’s appropriation by $3.5 million.

“This is a continuation of the overall downward trend in the support received from the state since FY02,” Allen-Meares and Kaufman said. “We continue to do all we can to control our own costs and funnel as many resources as possible into the academic enterprise.”

The state still owes nearly $221 million for fiscal year 2012 but has until the end of December to make the payments.

“We expect, as in the past, that they will do so,” Allen-Meares and Kaufman said. “However, the persistence of this cash-flow problem is a challenge for us all.”

UIC departments and units were directed to plan for reductions as high as 12 percent, but the actual cuts will be about 7 percent.

“Now that the units have received their allocations, they will build their budget to the new allocation level,” said Frank Goldberg, vice provost for resource planning and management.

Faculty who are not covered by collective bargaining agreements, academic professional staff and open-range Civil Service employees will be eligible for 2 percent merit-based raises.

“Because providing salary increases for our hardworking faculty and staff is so high a priority for the university, our planning has taken this into account,” Goldberg said. “We’ve been very careful in our planning and hiring so that we were able to accommodate a merit raise program.”

Departments and units can offer an additional .5 percent raise to address market or equity issues, Allen-Meares and Kaufman said.

“Maintaining a competitive salary program has always been a priority for the campus,” the statement said.

“Despite an even larger reduction in state funding for FY13, we have decided that in order to remain competitive and to recognize the contribution of our hard-working and productive faculty and staff, we will implement a campus-wide general salary program.”

Pay raises for unionized faculty members will be considered during upcoming collective bargaining.

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