Friday, January 18, 2008

Budget Message from Pat Gantt

This message was sent out by CSUEU President Pat Gantt yesterday afternoon:

January 17, 2008

Dear CSUEU Board members, CSUEU Staff and activists,

This week has continued to yield a variety of responses to the Governor's proposed state budget. One of the first responses by the CSU was to cut off freshman fall 2008 enrollment on February 1, 2008. The CSU already has over 10,000 full time students that are over the enrollment target and not funded in the current state budget. It will be interesting to see how the legislature reacts to this action.
You can read more about it in the Sacramento Bee Article:

The Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) is also critical of the Governor’s budget plan. It published an overview of the Governor’s budget that is a preliminary analysis. There will be an in depth analysis released mid-February that will go into greater detail on the impacts of the Governor’s budget.,1,3236554.story

The Chancellor called a meeting this week with all unions and the senior management of Finance and Human Resources in the Chancellor’s Office. Since the CSU is not a target of mid-year cuts which is the focus of the special session we all watching the process carefully until the middle of February, which is the deadline for the special session on the fiscal emergency. That special session will also give an early indication of how the Legislature may deal with the full 2008/09 state budget beyond the mid year cuts. The trustees will not take any action on student fees until their March meeting. This will give some time to see what may unfold early in the budget process.

The campuses are currently going through a budget review process and preliminary reports from some chapter presidents are that some of the CSU campuses may be able to absorb the cuts on a one year basis without layoffs or position losses with the current budget proposal. This may be due to some of the contingency reserves that all campuses must carry. The ability of a campus to absorb a budget cuts without loss of staff positions is unique to each campus. The larger campuses may be better able to do this than the smaller ones. Campuses that have had budget issues in recent years due to enrollment problems may have special challenges with new enrollment targets and budget cuts. If there are layoffs on a campus, the CSUEU and the affected permanent employees must be notified at least 60 days in advance. Any layoffs for the 2008/09 fiscal year which starts July 1 would need a notice issued in early May. Each chapter is encouraged to attend the campus budget committee meetings to see how their campus reviews the impact of the proposed budget.

Here are the talking points:

  • The proposed budget cuts will impact student access to the California State University since not all qualified students will be admitted.
  • The CSU has asked for revenue to increase enrollment by 2.5% or 10,000 students for 2008/09. This was not included in the Governor’s budget proposal.
  • That means that 10,000 qualified students will no have the opportunity to attend a CSU because we will not be able to offer them a slot at any CSU campus
  • As a major supplier of graduates into the state’s workforce, budget cuts to the CSU will have an impact on key industries in California.
  • CSU graduates nearly 90,000 students into the state’s workforce each year
  • We supply the majority of the workforce in key industries including nursing, teaching, agriculture, business, public administration and technology.
  • For every dollar the state invests in the CSU, $4.41 is generated in economic activity.
  • The unions are working with the CSU to develop a strategy to protect the CSU budget.
  • We will be calling our members to action to discuss with their local legislators the importance of a continued investment in the CSU to California’s long term financial health.
  • The proposed budget cuts will impact the long term prospects of increasing the college-going rates of underserved communities in California.
  • The pipeline of students in K-12 is two-third students of color, and it is critical to the state’s future that more students from underserved communities attend college.
  • The CSU has experienced an increase in enrollment of first-time freshman from underserved communities over the past few years as a result of outreach efforts in underserved communities.
These are the preliminary talking points in the broadest sense possible. We will have more talking points as the budget impacts develop and we see how the campuses react. While we are concerned about the depth of the proposed cuts, it is not a time to panic but to watch carefully. There will be questions on the 2008/09 compensation. The Governor has suspended the Higher Education Compact this year. That compact was the basis that every CSU union based its compensation related sections upon. The compensation related issues in all contracts will not be addressed until the CSU knows what it has for a final budget signed by the Governor. No one really knows as the state budget has missed its deadline more times than it has made it. We will be developing some Frequently Asked Questions related to the budget over the next few weeks to assist chapters and member in addressing concerns.

We will be meeting with our governmental affairs person tomorrow to discuss the budget and our reaction to it and will follow up with another report next week.

If you wish to read the Governor’s budget, CSU Section:

In Union,
Pat Gantt, President

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