Friday, January 21, 2011

CSULB President Announces Proposed Budget Cuts

According to the Long Beach Post, President F.King Alexander of California State University, Long Beach  issued a message to faculty, staff and students regarding the Governor's proposed budget. Alexander highlights the proposed 18% reduction in funding to the CSU system is the equivalent of a $500 million cut. The letter to the faculty and students states:

Dear CSULB Faculty, Staff and Students:
Earlier this month Governor Brown proposed his 2011-12 annual budget.  While the Governor's proposed budget does not provide many specifics, it does include an 18 percent reduction--a $500 million cut--to the CSU with system enrollment set at about 339,000 resident Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES).  Overall, California public higher education faces a $1.4 billion reduction.  At this point, we do not yet know how the Chancellor’s Office will apportion the $500 million budget reduction or what our new enrollment targets will be. We believe that more information regarding these issues will be made available in the coming weeks.
If the Governor’s budget is implemented and the Chancellor apportions the reduction to CSU campuses pro rata, the net effect for CSULB would result in a budget very similar to the one for which we had planned for the start of Fall 2010. This new budget would also take us back to our 1999-2000 funding levels.  This is a very lean level of funding, but a level for which we have already begun careful planning.
The Governor’s cuts are proposed against the partially “restored” CSU budget that we received last October for 2010-11.  Although restoration was very short-lived, cuts would have been much more painful if levied against our pre-restoration budget.  Furthermore, the proposed budget assumes fee and tuition increases at all three public higher education segments; for the CSU these were enacted by the Board of Trustees last fall for Spring 2011 and Fall 2011.  It is also important to mention that the Governor's proposed budget does include full funding for financial aid programs.
It remains to be seen how the Governor's proposal will fare with the legislature and the public. In past years, the January Governor’s budget was close to the final budget but frequently took months to pass.  Despite the fact that we understand the current fiscal circumstances facing California, we are committed to working hard to mitigate these proposed reductions.
One additional wild card that could even have greater economic impact on our campus is a proposed special election in June to ask voters to approve tax extensions.  These are not new taxes but extensions of three existing taxes.  If these extensions are not approved, and larger cuts are proposed for the CSU, we will have very significant concerns about the impacts on our programs.
The next couple of months will be critical for us as we  plan for the 2011-12 academic year. A great deal hinges on the upcoming legislative debates over the budget, a subsequent May budget revision based on updated revenue projections, and another June election aimed at extending three existing taxes.
We expect more specific information on enrollments and budget allocations in early February from the Chancellor’s Office.  At that time, we will have to make final fall admissions decisions and proceed with planning for next year’s enrollment and budget, despite the substantial uncertainty remaining about next year’s budget.
We will continue to inform you as more information is made available.  Despite this significant setback and the uncertainty that we face, we firmly believe that our university can continue to deliver on its core mission of helping students to succeed.
Thank you and GO BEACH!
F. King Alexander, President

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