Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Joint Statement from CSU Unions and Chancellor

The California State University sent out a message this morning from the Chancellor and the heads of all of the CSU unions:

January 30, 2008

TO: All CSU Employees

Charles B. Reed, CSU Chancellor
Lillian Taiz, president, California Faculty Association
Pat Gantt, president, CSU Employees Union
Floyd Anscombe, president, Union of American Physicians and Dentists
James Banks, president, United Auto Workers
John Connor, business manager, State Employees Trade Council
Charles Goetzl, president, Academic Professionals of California
Sgt. Jim Procida, president, State University Police Association

RE: CSU Budget

As we begin a new year at the California State University, it is clear that 2008 will present significant budget challenges for the CSU system. Faced with a growing $14.5 billion state budget deficit, Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed a $312.9 million cut to the CSU budget approved by the board of trustees for the 2008-09 fiscal year. The proposed budget fails to fund access for 10,000 students and puts at risk our ability to provide quality education for the nearly 450,000 students already enrolled.

In the face of these proposed budget reductions, the CSU community – faculty, students, staff, alumni, administrators and the Board of Trustees – have agreed to work together to advocate that the legislature and the Governor consider alternative solutions. We are all alarmed by the $386.1 million reduction to the CSU budget consisting of the Governor’s unallocated cut of $312.9 million and the $73.2 million necessary to avoid a 10 percent student fee increase in the 2008-09 academic year.

This funding reduction comes only three years after our budget was reduced by over $500 million during the 2002-03 and 2004-05 fiscal years, which led to significantly reduced student access, as well as a dramatic increase in student fees. History will likely be repeated if the Governor’s proposed CSU budget reductions are sustained by the legislature.

Some policymakers believe that we should “live within our means” without new taxes and that resources to fund public services should be generated by a stronger California economy. As you know, the CSU is California’s economic engine, strengthening the economy by graduating 90,000 students into the state’s workforce every year.

We play a major role in the state’s workforce in the areas of nursing, teaching, agriculture, business, public administration, and engineering. The CSU returns $4.41 to California’s economy annually for every $1 invested by the state. Given the state’s General Fund condition, we believe investing in the CSU is a smart solution to address the state’s fiscal deficit.

Working together, the CSU community is urging the legislature and the Governor to support alternative options to maintain the state’s investment in California’s economic engine -- the CSU. We are also asking the legislature and the Governor to find other sources of revenue – other than higher fees for our students and their families – as a way to support the CSU budget. There needs to be a more balanced budget approach that considers the CSU as a valuable investment in the future economy of California.

We would like to ask all members of the CSU community to help us advocate for the California State University by writing to your legislators, talking with your friends, and making your voice heard about the importance of restoring our budget and protecting the state’s investment in higher education. As the budget process proceeds, we will be asking you to join us in our efforts to ensure that the CSU gets the budget our students and California deserves.

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