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Board of Trustees approve the 1995-96 Budget

STANFORD -- The Stanford Board of Trustees last week approved a $1.3 billion budget for this coming year that for the first time calls for academic departments to take a significant share of the cuts.

Provost Condoleezza Rice presented the 1995-96 budget, which includes $7.4 million in general fund reductions from academic and administrative areas, to the Board of Trustees on June 15.

About $3.5 million of the budget cuts will come from academic areas, which include each of the schools, the Dean of Research and the Hoover Institution. Most of the reductions will be achieved by holding the expenditures of the schools flat.

Board of Trustees Chairman John Freidenrich said the board was particularly impressed that the provost managed to cut costs from academic areas while at the same time managing to allocate funds for new research, teaching and construction programs.

"It's not a wholesale cutting or taking a hatchet to the academic budget by any stretch of the imagination," Freidenrich said after the meeting.

Some of the university-wide initiatives outlined in the budget plan include developing a year-long curriculum to teach science and mathematics concepts to non-science majors; pilot projects to enrich learning through technology; and the creation of a language center to be the academic resource for language teachers .

Cutbacks in federal funding of research and changes in health care reimbursement policies are the two biggest uncertainties that could affect the budget, Freidenrich said. "We will simply have to manage our way through those issues as they become clearer and more apparent," he said.

Approximately one-third of Stanford's overall budget, or $418 million, comes in the form of discretionary general funds that can be used for any university purpose. The remainder is composed of designated or restricted funds tagged for specific purposes. The budget plan submitted to the Board of Trustees earmarks an estimated $3.5 million in unrestricted revenues expected to be gained by charging each school's restricted funds for general costs of maintaining the university.

The proposal presented to the board includes a "space charge," based on the square footage a school occupies; putting in place a 6 percent levy on non-sponsored restricted fund expenditures; and eliminating the practice of paying schools interest earned on fund balances from restricted gifts.

Although trustees approved the plan in concept, Freidenrich said the board must revisit the issue before finalizing the details. "I think that the trustees are sympathetic to the need to have some form of revenues from these restricted funds and balances and so forth. Exactly how it will be done and the manner in which it is done is something that will require continued review.

"The revenue streams included in the budget have been approved, but in terms of the issue of restricted fund balances and space charges or taxes on those areas, we did not approve any [of these specific items] in finality," Freidenrich said.

Geoffrey Cox, vice provost for institutional planning and financial affairs, said the board instructed budget officials to continue discussions with faculty and donors on the matter. They also asked administrators to refine some of the procedures and implementations outlined in the proposal. Cox declined to discuss these proposed details until after they are presented to the board for consideration next fall.

The board also approved an agreement between the Stanford Alumni Association and Stanford News Service for the joint publication of a magazine to be published every other month. It will debut next spring.

The magazine will mirror the Alumni Association's Stanford magazine, but it will have an additional 32-page section called Stanford Today. The extra section will be a revamped version of the university-run newsprint tabloid called Stanford Observer, which it will replace.

"I think that the university and alumni will be well served by combining those publications," Freidenrich said.



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