Gov. Brown signs state budget agreement

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Gov. Jerry Brown signed a number of 2015-16 state budget bills Wednesday, which will increase funds for the UC system.

The budget endorses an agreement made between Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano for an additional $119.5 million in general fund support and $96 million in one-time funds to reduce the unfunded liability associated with the university’s retirement system. The agreement would keep resident undergraduate tuition flat for two years.

The funds will, in part, permit the implementation of general and additional merit-based pay increases for some employees, Napolitano said in a letter to UC faculty and staff.

“All employees deserve to be appropriately compensated and our pay practices for many of our talented faculty and non-represented staff employees have lagged the market in recent years,” she said in the letter.

The budget reflects a deal reached between Brown and legislative leaders June 16. The UC Board of Regents will be considering the university’s budget at its meeting in July.

As part of the agreement between Napolitano and Brown, the university will make efforts to assist transfer students coming into the UC system, with the ultimate goal of achieving a 2:1 ratio of new freshmen to new transfer students.

The university will also formulate pathways to help students graduate within three years, pilot alternate pricing models for summer courses, and streamline the process for meting out credits for prior education and other activities.

The budget outlines a requirement to implement a lower cap on pensionable compensation in the UC retirement system.

“It’s a multi-year funding framework that puts the university on solid financial footing,” said UC spokesperson Dianne Klein in an email.

The budget calls for $25 million in additional general funds for the university if it can show that it will admit 5,000 more resident undergraduate students than were enrolled in the 2014-15 academic year by the 2016-17 academic year.

$25 million in funds for deferred maintenance, which was previously included in a proposal for the budget, will be included in a separate bill, according to Klein.

Contact Kayla Kettmann at [email protected].