Even though the reduction of the government input for the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), depicted in the budget that was suggested by the Executive Branch, is about $202 million, the 11 campuses of the educational system have made financial proposals taking a fiscal adjustment of only $149 million into account.
“What’s been discussed with the central administration is that, if the cutback reaches $202 million, as it is foreseen, the campuses won’t have to cut more than what’s been already asked in practice (if the financial proposals are elaborated)”, expressed the rector of Cayey, Mario Medina.
In that case, the administration may take other measures, like not paying the devt University of Puerto Rico’, pointed out the academic, who blamed the government for generating the crisis in the academic institution.
The State’s educational system has a general debt of $432 million and another debt of $66.5 million, which belongs to the construction of Plaza Universitaria’s building, located in front of the campus of Río Piedras. Its total debt is less than 1% of the public debt, which is around $69,000 billion.
Since April, the campuses have been elaborating some fiscal proposals, in order to subdmit to the central administration, as a part of the institutional budget’s elaboration process. The campus of Río Piedras representatives -Carolina, Ponce and Bayamón- have already suffered the internal budget reviews, which will supposedly finish next Monday.
According to the rectors, the budget proposals that have been made including two possible scenarios: one with the implementation of enrollment costs, adapted to the student’s incomes and another one without it.
This information was released yesterday during a press conference held by the eight rectors of the UPR and the dean of the Graduate Studies and Research of Río Piedras, José Rodríguez Esquerdo, as a representative of that campus.
Previously, the scholars had participated in the meeting of the College Board, organism responsible of accepting an institutional budget before submitting it to the Government Board of the University of Puerto Rico for its certification.
Focusing on the payroll
The rectors of Carolina, Moisés Orengo; Ponce, Doris S. Torres Negrón; and Bayamón, Sylka Torres, agreed that the payroll will be the most shaken section by the cutbacks in the respective units.
According to Orengo, the reduction projected for Carolina is of $2.6 million, in comparison with the previous budget, and in order to deal with the economic blow a freezing of positions is predicted, besides the considerable savings in the payment of electrical power. Meanwhile, in Bayamón they are considering, in addition, to reduce the contribution to the health plan and the employees’ Christmas bonus, said Torres.
Once the College Board approves the budget, it will have to submit it to the Government Board of the University of Puerto Rico, organism that currently doesn’t count with enough quorum to proceed.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to call on the government’s authorities so that they work in the university issue, in terms of the nomination of individuals to create the governing board, so that the institution can continue with the processes”, expressed Ponce’s campus interim rector.
“This is necessary so that, when July 1st arrives, we can already have a composed Government Board, we may probably have a president and we can complete the process of having an approved budget, so that the university can keep fulfilling the social role it was created for”, added the academic.
The designations of former Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Zoraida Boxó, and the law teacher Walter Alomar are still pending in the Senate.
Cayey’s rector insisted that the University of Puerto Rico is not without gobernance.
“The university is still functioning… We are here and that must be the message. Rectors are still working in every one of the campuses”, pointed out Medina.
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