California Gov. Jerry Brown released his budget proposal this past week for the 2013-14 fiscal year that will refund the $125 million cuts from last year as well as provide an additional $125.1 million to the California State University (CSU) system.
CSU Public Affairs Assistant Liz Chapin said the proposed increase in funding is definitely a positive sign for the CSU.
“Any restoration of state funding for the CSU means more opportunity for access and affordability,” Chapin said.
The proposed budget will repeal the tuition increase that was due to take place this fall with the reinvestment as well as increase state funding for the CSU system by $125.1 million, she said.
The last time the state reinvested in the CSU system was the 2010-11 school year where the state allocated nearly half a billion, only to have it cut nearly $0.8 billion the next year.
The 2013-14 reinvestment would not have been a possibility if Proposition 30 had not passed this past November, she said.
The proposed budget, however, is not as much as some hoped for. California Faculty Association for Cal Poly, SLO President Glen Thorncroft said students should still be concerned about how fast Cal Poly will be recovering.
The $250 million proposed increase was originally about $400 million in the earlier planning phases, Thorncroft said.
The proposed budget is moving in a positive direction, but with the continued funding challenges that the CSU is facing, students will still be dealing with larger classes and fewer offered courses, he said.
Thorncroft expressed his concern for faculty as well as students. Brown is opening the door to allowing the CSU to essentially charge faculty money to contribute to their health plans, he said. Faculty is facing pay cuts in the form of paying more for health care benefits.
Some recently hired faculty were promised a 20 percent salary increase four to five years ago and were never given a raise, he said. Many are upside down on their mortgages because of it, he said.
“There are faculty who have literally said, ‘We’re not making it here,’” Thorncroft said. He said he hopes the worst is behind them now.
Vice President for Administration and Finance Larry Kelley said it is too soon to know how the proposed increase of funding will impact Cal Poly.
Brown’s budget proposal still needs to be approved by the legislature, Kelley said. The approval needs to happen by mid-June so the budget can be implemented by July 1.
“We will be watching that process very closely over the next few months and hope to see some good solid answers,” he said.
However, even if the budget does pass, the allocations of the amounts have not been determined yet, which makes it even more difficult to predict how this will affect Cal Poly, Kelley said.
Although the exact amount of revenue that Cal Poly may receive is unknown, it still won’t cover the deficit that Cal Poly has been subject to.
“With any calculation regarding how much additional revenue might come to Cal Poly, we would still be well over $20 million less in funding than we had five years ago,” he said.
Although the reinvestment revokes the new fee that was supposed to be implemented this fall, the additional revenue will still not be enough to replace the Student Success Fee, Kelley said.
As for the semester conversion decision, this particular budget should not have an impact either way.