CFA members and SQE interns attended the March 14 Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education hearing and provided public comment. They demanded a fully funded CSU.

SQE intern Taylor Hawkins came to the hearing from CSU Stanislaus. Hawkins shared how public higher education is a critical resource that has historically been out of reach for so many high school students and their families.

A student standing at a podium.
SQE internTaylor Hawkins speaks at the budget hearing.

“It’s taken my family three generations of sacrifice to barely get here. And just as we are getting here, the line is being moved,” said Hawkins. “We would ask you to fully fund the CSU and let the CSU be a resource rather than another system not built for us that we have to circumvent.”

For Hawkins the promise of public higher education is increasingly inaccessible.

CFA Vice President and Sacramento State Professor Margarita Berta-Ávila, in comments submitted to the committee, stated:

 “TODAY, three out of four students in the 23-campus California State University system are students of color, while in 1985 the majority of students were white. We have seen that as the student body of the CSU became darker, state funding for each student has become lighter. We cannot sit back and bear witness to a disinvestment in California’s future.”

CFA Political Action & Legislation Chair Steven Filling urged the Legislature to concur with the Governor’s January Proposal for CSU funding. “CSU provides unparalleled opportunities for California’s students. It would be a disaster if CSU were forced to cut classes and programs and severely constrain our students’ ability to complete their often life-changing education,“ said Filling.

Chancellor García and other university leaders attended the hearing and responded to questions about CSU enrollment and spending. In the past CSU administrators have pointed to decreasing enrollment to justify threats to lecturer positions. However, when questioned about student enrollment, Chancellor García explained that enrollment in 2023-2024 has trended upward by 2 percent.

Earlier this year, Governor Newsom began the annual budget process by releasing his January budget proposal. The Assembly and the Senate must each respond to the governor’s proposed budget as the three branches seek an agreement by June 15.  

Governor Newsom proposed deferring the 5 percent increase agreed to in the compact with the California State University System. The deferral would provide CSU funding at the 2023-24 level, while helping to close the state’s $38 billion budget shortfall by postponing the compact’s $240.2 million investment to the 2025-26 budget year.  

Last week, the Senate announced its early action plan, which incorporates the proposed deferral. Both the Governor’s and Senate’s proposals maintain the funding necessary to meet contingency requirements for the 5% General Salary Increase in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.   

Assembly Budget Chair Jesse Gabriel said that the Assembly would respond with its own early action plan sometime in April.  

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