Gov. releases his 2017-18 state budget plan, short of CSU Trustees’ budget request

CFA leaders and activists will be urging legislators to increase funding for the CSU following Gov. Jerry Brown’s low-ball funding of the university system.

Brown, who preached “prudence” during Tuesday’s budget release, called this fiscal year “a time of uncertainties,” including the amount of funds to arrive from the federal government and economic volatility that could affect the amount of state taxes that will be collected this year.

Between now and July, the state legislature will hold hearings on elements in the plan, organizations including CFA will urge legislators to change it, tax dollars will come in, and the governor will release a revised plan in May.

Brown proposed to increase state funding for the CSU by $161.2 million for total funding of $3.66 billion.

Last November, the CSU Trustees and Chancellor’s Office requested an increase of $343.7 million in state funding from the governor’s Department of Finance, which prepares the budget plan.

Jennifer Eagan, president of CFA, said the plan falls short of the funding the CSU needs.

“This isn’t money that was simply wanted. This is funding that is critical to delivering quality education to our nearly half-million students attending ‘The People’s University,’” she said in a news statement.

“We have a generation of students who have never experienced getting full support from California to support their education. Student fee increases and the rapidly rising cost of living mean financial aid no longer bridges the gap.

“They are doing more with less; working long hours to make ends meet while trying to balance their academics. For them, the California Master Plan is an empty shell.”

In a summary released to the news media on Tuesday, the governor’s plan does not directly propose tuition increases. However, neither does his budget plan does call for an extension of the moratorium on increases, as it has in his past four budgets.

Last fall, in a letter to the California State Students Association about tuition, CSU Chancellor Timothy White wrote he must “keep all options open” and included a proposed tuition hike for 2016-17.

The CSU Trustees have indicated that if the governor’s budget plan remains the same, they will consider a 5% tuition increase at their March 2017 meeting.