Budget and merit increase for fiscal year 2019
Over the last several months, Vice President for Business Affairs Kathy Funk-Baxter and her team worked diligently to craft an institutional budget for fiscal year 2019 that balances a multitude of priorities.
Our strategic initiatives played a significant role in shaping the requirements of our budget. Although our action plans around strategic enrollment, student success and weighted student credit hour production are still in the early stages of implementation, we’re already seeing the results. These efforts are positioning UTSA well for future increases in revenue.
As a result of these positive indicators, the FY19 budget will include a 1% merit-based salary increase for eligible employees effective September 1, 2018. Vice President Funk-Baxter will be following up over the next few weeks with all vice presidents and deans regarding the details of the merit increase.
This modest increase recognizes our institutional commitment to cultivating the excellence of our people, even in a year when we will experience significant transitions regarding our enrollment/retention strategies and fiscal management.
Allow me to offer a little additional context around both our budget and the merit increase.
In the fall we will begin the year-long pilot of our new budget model, following the implementation timeline laid out by the Finance & Budget Modeling task force. The pilot will run parallel with our existing budget process for the year. As we work through this major change in our fiscal practices, we will continue to focus our resources on putting our house in order from an operational and infrastructure perspective.
With the full implementation of our new budget model in FY20, we will be in a position to shift our attention toward aligning our institutional vision with our budgeting process. Inherent in the new model will be increased transparency, a natural outcome of an incentives-based budgeting approach where colleges and other large units around the university will have more responsibility for their revenue, expenses and budgetary decisions.
This will be a very different way of doing business here at UTSA, and there will be many chances to learn more about the new budgeting process during this pilot year. One excellent opportunity is coming up soon. The Finance & Budget Modeling Task Force will host a panel discussion on June 26 featuring representatives from other universities who have experience with incentive-based budget models – a great opportunity to learn from those who have been through this process.
I have asked Vice President Funk-Baxter to visit with every college and administrative division to discuss our FY19 budget and our new budget model. After her retirement this September, our new Vice President for Business Affairs will continue these discussions over the course of the academic year. We can never have too much communication when it comes to changes this significant.
Before I close, I want to mention how important I felt it was to offer a merit increase this year as a reward for the many faculty and staff doing outstanding work all across our campuses. That said, it’s likely we won’t be able to offer merit increases every year. Our enrollment plan is making it possible for us to invest in our people and our future – but the reality is that our enrollment and revenue streams are subject to a multitude of factors, some of which are external and beyond our control.
Here’s the bottom line: our budget is presently heavily impacted by our ability to recruit and keep our students, which is why it is so important for all of us to support our student success and strategic enrollment efforts.
The Board of Regents will vote on our budget later this summer. In the meanwhile, there is more to come as we work to prepare the launch of our new budget process this fall. I promise to keep you updated.