In previous letters as well as at the recent campus budget forums, I've tried to speak frankly about the challenges we face in the wake of ongoing state budget cuts. We know that students will have access to fewer courses and reduced academic support. For most employees, paychecks will be smaller. And, regrettably, additional layoffs are likely.

We must also get used to the idea that when the pay reduction/furlough program takes effect this fall, most of our workforce will be unavailable for work an average of 8 percent of the time. That's almost two full working days a month per employee. The net effect of this is less capacity to support one another in our daily work. I hope that we can exercise patience and empathy with one another as we adapt to these resource constraints.

Tighter budgets and continued reductions in state support also threaten the viability of campus services that are not self-sustaining. For example, Early Education Services (EES), which has offered convenient campus childcare services to campus families, will no longer be available to faculty and staff families effective January 1, 2010.

This highly valued program, served by dedicated teachers and support personnel, has been operating at a substantial deficit despite being funded in part from student fees. Given the mounting deficit and bleak fiscal picture, our campus no longer is in a position to offer this program in its current scope. A restructured program, serving children of UCSC students, will continue to be available.

This of course is very distressing to the staff members affected as well as the approximately two-dozen faculty and staff families who have relied on the EES program. Student Affairs staff has already been in touch with affected families, teachers, and staff. Our hope is that by sharing this information now, families will have more time to find alternative arrangements by next January.

In the last few weeks I've received a number of questions and numerous general comments in response to my budget messages. Where appropriate, I've asked my staff to ensure that you receive a personalized response. I intend to comment in upcoming letters on reader input that would be of general campus interest. I appreciate you taking the time to write, even if simply to share your frustrations.

Continue checking the campus's budget update page for new information. I look forward to being in touch with you again next Friday.