Governor’s budget proposal includes increase in CSU funding
This morning Gov. Jerry Brown introduced his budget proposal for the 2013/14 fiscal year.While the governor emphasized that this budget will ask the state to “live within our means,” it does provide much-needed funding boosts for higher education in the next fiscal year.
The governor’s budget plan provides the CSU and UC with increases of $250 million each.
To accomplish this increase, the budget proposal would:
1. Replace the $125 million the system refunded to students and their families as a result of the tuition rollback in the current budget year that was required by passage of Proposition 30, and
2. Increase CSU funding from the state’s general fund by $125.1 million.
CFA praised the governor’s approach.
“This budget proposal is the first step in restoring a prosperous future for California,” said CFA President Lillian Taiz, a professor of history at CSU Los Angeles. “We appreciate the governor’s commitment to public higher education and, in particular, to keeping the CSU affordable for our students.”
Beyond the increase this year, the governor also proposes to step up funding for the CSU by five percent each per year in 2013/14 and 2014/ 15, and by four percent in each of the subsequent two years.
View the proposal in its entirety at: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov
Budget proposes problematic policy changes
While the funding portions of the budget plan are a positive for the CSU, the governor also proposed some policy changes that will require closer examination over the coming months:
• As part of the $125.1 million increase, the governor proposed that $10 million be directed to expanding online education offerings. These would be aimed at so-called “bottleneck courses.”
• For the second year in a row, the governor has proposed to change statute allowing the CSU to negotiate higher employee contributions to healthcare for themselves and their families.
• As part of his plan, Gov. Brown proposes greater restrictions on the total number of units students can take that would be state subsidized. The proposal would cap the subsidized units at 150% of what is necessary to complete most degrees. Students could continue taking classes beyond that, but would have to pay full price rather than the subsidized in-state rates. The governor believes this will force more students to finish on time and free up resources.
These proposals certainly have implications for CSU faculty and students. Union leaders emphasized that today’s developments represent just the opening salvo in a months-long debate on the state budget.
“While we have concerns about some of the proposals in the budget, there is time to have a thorough discussion to address these policies over the coming months,” said CFA President Taiz.
Election victory key to increased funding
Thursday’s budget unveiling follows the November election in which voters spoke out unequivocally in favor of protecting education at all levels. Not only did they enthusiastically endorse Proposition 30 but they also elected a record seven current or former CSU/UC faculty members to the state legislature to serve as stalwarts of public higher ed.
Perhaps most important in Thursday’s good news was the passage of Proposition 30, which not only prevented a mid-year cut to the state university in 2012, but rolled back tuition/student fees by $125 million.
“CFA members worked tirelessly for Prop. 30 in the hope that we can stop the harm caused by years of funding cuts,” said Taiz. “Now we are beginning to see the fruits of that hard work.”
More work to do
While Thursday’s news is a welcome change of direction for the CSU, there is a great deal of work left to do.
Taiz said, “We look forward to working with CSU Chancellor Timothy White in a constructive way to ensure that our efforts to protect vital CSU funding are successful.”