Kalbert Young

Kalbert Young, University of Hawaiʻi vice president for budget and finance and chief financial officer, shares an update on the 2019 legislative session to date.

Just three days since I gave you an update on the University of Hawaiʻi’s budget status in the Legislature, here is an important update from the Legislature as lawmakers consider a budget proposal that cuts about $30 million from the University of Hawaiʻi by, in large part, eliminating more than 220 faculty and staff positions.

The State Senate passed House Bill 2 Senate Draft (SD) 1 and House Bill 116 SD 1 on Friday, March 15 as its version of the budget to fund all state departments, including the University of Hawaiʻi. The budget bills are now set for conference committee, a critical time in the legislative session where the House of Representatives and Senate negotiate differences and finalize all bills for a final vote before they head to Gov. David Ige for approval.

Comparing the Senate and House budget actions, the Senate proposal is particularly alarming. The Senate is proposing a reduction in existing funding by more than $10 million in fiscal year 2019–2020 and by $19.5 million in fiscal year 2020–2021. This includes the elimination of more than 220 faculty and staff positions. Budget reductions on this order would likely mean additional faculty and/or staff reductions beyond these specific positions identified by the Senate.

The House proposal does not include those budget cuts and instead provides the $26.7 million and $27.2 million of funding in each fiscal year requested by the UH Board of Regents (BOR). This includes $19.7 million in funding to extend the Hawaiʻi Promise Program, the “last dollar” financial aid assistance currently available at the community colleges to the four-year campuses. The Senate’s budget proposal only provides for a total of $2,171,000 in additional funding for Hawaiʻi Promise.

The following table illustrates how UH has fared so far this session on the operating budget laid out in House Bill 2 House Draft 1 SD 1, with conference meetings on the budget about to begin. Note that the House position on the budget—represented by House Bill 1521 and House Bill 1522—matches the BOR’s budget request:

Table illustrating how UH has fared so far
Description BOR/House FY20 BOR/House FY21 Senate FY20 Senate FY21
Hawaiʻi Promise Program $19,700,000 $19,700,000 $2,171,000 $2,171,000
Raise Graduate Assistant Stipend (Mānoa) $2,198,360 $2,242,327 $2,198,360 $2,242,327
Student Mentors and Tutors (CCs) $1,004,400 $1,004,400 $500,000 $500,000
Custodial and Maintenance (Hilo) $228,576 $228,576 $143,784 $143,784
Wayfinding Education Program (Hilo) $375,000 $300,000 $375,000 $300,000
Learning Assistants and Peer Mentoring (Mānoa) $956,600 $1,408,876    
Student Employment (Hilo) $122,000 $231,000    
Student Employment (West Oʻahu) $300,000 $300,000    
Security Staff (Hilo) $311,240 $311,240    
HINET for SNAP Recipients (CCs) $520,000 $520,000    
Distance Education (West Oʻahu) $1,000,000 $1,000,000    
Convert 7.5 Positions from Tuition to General Funds (West Oʻahu)     $392,199 $392,199
Reduce Positions and Funds for NHERC (Hilo)     $(344,634) $(344,634)
Add Positions and Funds for NHERC (CCs)     $670,556 $670,556
Aeronautical Science Program     $155,000 $335,000
Leeward CC Teacher Education Program     $418,720 $418,720
Aquaria-Other Current Expenses     $25,000 $25,000
Reduce Funds for Performance Based Budgeting (System)     $(3,880,818)  
Reduce Funds for Systemwide Support (System)     $(5,975,126) $(5,975,126)
Reduce Funds for University Press (Mānoa)     $(545,277) $(545,277)
Reduce 121 Researcher and Instructor Positions (Mānoa)       $(12,974,614)
Total $26,716,176 $27,246,419 $(3,696,236) $(12,641,065)

On the UH capital improvement projects (CIP) budget, the UH initial request was for $295 million for FY20 and $319.5 million in FY21 in additional General Obligation Bonds to address capital renewal, progress on deferred maintenance and funding for projects to modernize each of the campuses within the UH System. House Bill 1259 SD 1 represents the Senate draft of the CIP budget and it includes $141 million for FY20 and $96.5 million for FY21 in General Obligation Bond funding for various projects. The House position is not known at this point in time.

The following table shows the CIP comparison between the board and Senate budgets:
Description BOR FY20 BOR FY21 Senate FY20 Senate FY21
Renew, Improve, and Modernize (Systemwide) $157,000,000 $133,000,000 $50,000,000 $65,000,000
Renovate Sinclair Library to become Student Success Center (Mānoa) $41,000,000   $24,000,000  
Snyder Hall Replacement (Mānoa)   $55,000,000    
Kuykendall Hall (Mānoa) $2,000,000      
Holmes Hall (Mānoa) $2,000,000 $35,000,000    
Keller Hall/Physical Science (Mānoa) $1,000,000      
Pharmacy Lab Improvements (Hilo) $3,000,000   $3,000,000  
Development and Infrastructure (West Oʻahu) $7,000,000 $8,000,000    
General Education Building I (West Oʻahu) $1,000,000      
Planning Projects (West Oʻahu) $500,000 $500,000    
Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance (CCs) $25,000,000 $25,000,000   $14,500,000
Science Building (Honolulu CC) $43,500,000     $2,000,000
Minor CIP (CCs) $10,000,000 $10,000,000    
Manono Campus Development (Hawaiʻi CC) $2,000,000 $50,000,000    
Agripharmatech Bioprocessing Facility (Windward CC)   $3,000,000    
Mini Master Plan Phase 2 (Mānoa)       $6,000,000
R&M and Equipment for Aeronautical Science (Hilo)     $321,000  
Hale ʻōlelo Complex Phase II and Phase III (Hilo)     $3,000,000  
Renew, Improve and Modernize (West Oʻahu)     $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Renew, Improve and Modernize (Hilo)     $5,000,000 $8,000,000
Multi-Agency Facility at Wahiawā (CCs)     $30,000,000  
Lump Sum for CCs     $14,000,000  
UH Mānoa Athletics Department (Systemwide)     $2,000,000  
Early Phase Cancer Clinical Trials Facility at Cancer Center (Systemwide)     $8,000,000  
Master Plan for new Athletic and Academic Facilities for Lower Campus (Systemwide)     $750,000  
Total $295,000,000 $319,500,000 $141,071,000 $96,500,000

The budget bills are now poised to start conference at any time, and once this starts, much work will need to be discussed between conference committee members to ensure funding levels with the university can continue to provide, at least, existing levels of services and facilities. The Legislature is right at the half-way mark of session before adjournment on May 2.