Governor’s State of the State applauds California’s financial comeback but largely ignores higher ed

Gov. Jerry Brown presented his annual State of the State this morning in front of a joint convention of the California State Legislature. It was his 11th such presentation, the most by any governor in California history.

The governor lauded California’s “comeback,” highlighting the budget surplus, the raising of the minimum wage and the growth of new jobs since 2010. He juxtaposed his excitement about California’s revival with cautionary tales of the unfunded liabilities for the public employee and teacher retirement systems, the backlog of infrastructure repairs, and ongoing concern about climate change highlighted by the recent drought declaration the Governor made just last week.

Higher education received little attention in this year’s State of the State. This was a departure from last year’s speech in which the governor emphasized the need for California’s three public higher ed systems to work together to improve four-year graduation rates and to facilitate the transfer process among the segments.

The governor included a $50 million “Award for Innovation” grant program in this year’s budget proposal to encourage the CSU, UC and Community Colleges to implement models of innovation that increase the number of people earning bachelor’s degrees statewide, allow students to earn bachelor’s degrees that can be completed within four years and ease transfer through the state’s education system.

Click here to read the governor’s State of the State address.

CFA asks members and all who are interested in preserving quality higher education in California to write their legislators and and ask for more funding for the California State University.

While the governor’s 2014/15 state budget proposal aims to increase CSU funding by about 5 percent, the plan falls short of the funding allocation that the CSU Board of Trustees requested and the system desperately needs.

Click here to use CFA’s “Take Action” tool and send your elected officials an email advocating for reinvestment in the CSU.