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May 9, 1996

No word yet about raises for FY97, staff are told at assembly

No decision has been made yet on possible salary increases for Pitt employees in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Staff Association Council (SAC) President Brian Hart told the audience at SAC's annual spring assembly yesterday that a decision on raises cannot be made until the University learns how much money it will receive from the state next year.

Hart said the University Planning and Budgeting Committee (UPBC), of which he is a member, has been struggling for months with the issue of raises and the group's salary recommendations for next year. UPBC is an advisory group, but the provost chairs it and the administration claims to take its recommendations seriously.

Last week, UPBC approved its latest budget assumptions for FY 1997, based on the best available information (prospects for the state appropriation, the Board of Trustees' urgings to minimize tuition increases, etc.). UPBC members won't reveal their latest salary and tuition recommendations because they don't want to create self-fulfilling prophecies in Harrisburg or among employees and students. But last fall, UPBC endorsed Pitt's initial FY 1997 parameters of a 3.5 percent tuition hike and 5 percent employee raises. Those are still the most recent public statements.

In its budget presentation to the General Assembly, Pitt requested a 6.5 percent funding increase. If that increase is not granted, tuition and salary increases would be affected, Interim Chancellor Mark Nordenberg told the state Senate's appropriation committee Feb. 27.

Because Gov. Tom Ridge's proposed budget essentially freezes current appropriations for state-owned and state-related universities, Hart said Pitt probably won't see a hike in its state appropriation next year.

Hart said UPBC has been looking at how much tuition can be increased and still keep Pitt affordable, and what size salary hikes the University can support.

–Mike Sajna

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