Virginia provides no raises for VCU employees, millions cut - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Virginia provides no raises for VCU employees, millions cut

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

An unexpected $1.5 billion shortfall in Virginia's finances is being felt at Virginia Commonwealth University, with the state cutting funding for employee raises.

In all, $15 million in state appropriations have been trimmed to about $4 million, including funding for programs and facilities within VCU Medical Center.

Proposed appropriations for the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Parkinson's and Movement Disorder Center were cut from Virginia's final budget for the 2014-2016 biennium.

The reductions in expected funding affects more than 20,000 staff and faculty members, with VCU serving as the largest employer in the region and the sixth largest in Virginia.

"I think this is par for the course," said VCU neuroscientist Andrew Ottens in an interview Tuesday. "We've had one raise from the state in the past six years, which makes it hard for us to keep up with inflation."

In an email to VCU employees, University President Michael Rao said the reductions do not affect VCU's core budget. But Rao acknowledged the $11 million would have boosted specific areas of need within VCU.

"Expected inflation updates to hospitals, including those comprising the VCU Health System, were removed," Rao said. "Anticipated funds tied to enrollment and graduation performance, for student financial support, and to develop a research infrastructure network were also omitted."

Virginia's $96 billion budget went into effect July 1, and largely holds state spending levels at current figures.

"Though this is a disappointing end to the long budget season, our mission and our rapid progress as one of America's premier urban public research universities remains unchanged," Rao said. "The innovation, dedication, and expertise of my colleagues will continue to elevate VCU in profound ways, and we will not miss a beat."

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