CSUN President Blenda J. Wilson was scheduled to meet Monday, May 12, with the University Budget Advisory Board (UBAB) to hear that advisory group's priorities among the 28 different budget initiatives that have emerged from a months-long campus review process.
But citing a series of pending issues that remain unresolved, campus officials could not predict how much discretionary funding might be available to fund the initiatives--in the first year CSUN's budget planning process has been linked to its strategic planning goals.
"We have more enthusiasm and talent and brilliance than we have the money to fund," Wilson said at a recent campuswide budget forum. "The commitment we're trying to make is we will make some progress on strategic initiatives, and it may be few."
Regardless of the number ultimately funded in the budget this year, Wilson said the process has created other opportunities. Private fund-raising may be able to cover some. Others can be held for next year's budget. And campus units may find other ways to achieve the same ends.
Overall, the CSUN budget news is relatively good: Campus officials are projecting a $169.2 million general fund for 1997-98, about 4.4 percent above this year's $162.1 million figure. But a series of required spending increases and looming costs figure to take much of that.
For example, Cal State officials had proposed a 3.4 percent overall compensation increase for system employees and there has been talk that might reach 4 percent. The 3.4 percent figure would consume more than $4 million of the total projected $7 million campus budget increase.
Ron Clouse, CSUN's director of budget planning and management, said other certain and possible costs such as a staff back wages obligation, increased insurance and utilities bills, and higher retirement costs could prove substantial.
Noting the university faces "significantly more unknowns" heading into May this year compared to the same time last year, Clouse said, "So we cannot come up with a definitive estimate now of what our total available dollars will be at the end of this fiscal year."
Even so, Wilson said she is seeking campus feedback on priorities among the 28 initiatives before ultimately making final decisions in the coming weeks. Below is a list, in no priority order, of the proposed initiatives, their estimated cost and a brief summary of each.