Friday, October 29, 2010

Trustees to vote on 5% student fee hike

Only now they will officially call it "tuition" rather than "student fees".
California's once-grand Master Plan for Higher Educations now seems to be officially dead.

From the Sac Bee:
California State University trustees will vote on a mid-year fee increase on Nov. 9 that would raise tuition by 5 percent for the spring term.

If the action is approved, tuition for a semester at a CSU campus would rise to $2,220, not including fees that specific campuses charge or books, housing and living expenses.

The proposal is not unexpected. When CSU trustees voted in June to raise fees for the current semester they said they would consider another fee increase after a state budget was approved. The budget Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed earlier this month assumed CSU tuition would go up by 10 percent -- but trustees had raised fees by only 5 percent in June.

"In our analysis, a mid-year adjustment of an additional 5 percent is needed in order to fulfill the budget's promise to restore access to students in a meaningful sense--that is, to restore access to courses and the range of services students need to succeed and graduate," states a CSU report prepared for the Nov. 9 meeting.

A mid-year 5 percent increase in tuition would allow Cal State's 23 campuses to reduce class sizes, offer 3,000 additional course sections and expand student services, the CSU report says.

Cal State officials also are officially changing the terminology they use to describe the money students pay to attend college -- instead of calling it "fees" they will now use the word "tuition." Historically both UC and CSU have used the term "fees" because California's 50-year-old master plan for higher education called for a tuition-free university system. Acknowledging how far the state has strayed from that vision, both of California's public university systems have now decided to start using the word "tuition," just like universities in the rest of the nation.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Budget Clears Senate

After 100 days without a budget, the longest in California history, the Senate approved a budget on October 8th. The Governor is expected to sign it sometime today.

Budget Finalized

It will be at least several weeks before we get a budget for the CSU. Meanwhile, the CSU's budget for next year is due in Sacramento by the end of October.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Budget Details Released

Source: Sac Bee Budget Story 10.6.10

The pending state budget agreement includes the repeal of the 1999 law that set higher pension benefits, as well as an assumption of $5.3 billion in federal funds, based on an eight-page outline released by the joint legislative budget committee today.

A vote is scheduled for Thursday.

Under the budget agreement, newly hired state workers would be subject to stricter formulas for determining pension benefits. The pension changes would only apply to workers in bargaining units without new state contracts. For employees in the "miscellaneous" category, the change means that workers would have to wait an additional five years -- age 60 instead of age 55 -- to receive benefits equal to 2 percent of pay for each year worked.

The agreement also seeks to address pension "spiking" by requiring that the final three years of compensation be used to determine benefits.

The budget document does not have line-item details but provides a Democratic analysis of the plan. The deal:

• Reduces the 2010-11 Proposition 98 school funding level to $49.7 billion -- from about $52 billion. It provides schools with a deferral of $1.9 billion to be paid in 2011-12, as well as $300 million as a repayment for cuts absorbed in 2009-10. It also defers $189 million for community colleges. We should note that school officials are nervous about this deferral. The state essentially is telling schools they can spend $1.9 billion more now and expect repayment in 2011-12, but that requires faith that the state will have extra money to spare or approve another deferral in the next fiscal year.

• Assumes $5.3 billion in new federal relief. This is significantly more than the $3.4 billion projected by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in his May revision. The document does not explain how the state expects to receive this additional money.

• Relies on about $1.5 billion in state employee compensation cuts. This includes $896 million in direct reductions to current state worker pay, as well as roughly $600 million in savings from attrition and reduced operating costs.

• Provides $5.5 billion for the University of California and California State University systems. The deal includes $199 million for each system to restore previous cuts, which is less than the $305 million initially proposed.

• Includes $1.1 billion in corrections savings, the bulk of which comes from a roughly $820 million savings in inmate medical care.

• Assumes the Democratic conference committee proposals for most health and human service programs. The changes have to do with a 3.6 percent reduction to In-Home Supportive Services, a $48 million reduction in certain child care rates, and additional savings by using federal or special funds. The deal preserves welfare and child care funding.

• Includes a 2012 ballot measure that sets the "rainy-day fund" at 10 percent of general fund revenue, smaller than the 12.5 percent required by last year's Proposition 1A. It also adds restrictions on how much of the reserve fund can be used in any deficit year, as well as an exclusion that protects school funding.

CSU to Receive $365 Million Funding Increase

The following press announcement was released on October 6th by the CFA:

Governor keeps his promise to restore badly needed funding to California’s floundering colleges and universities.

Sacramento – The California State University (CSU) system will receive a badly needed funding increase under the state’s new budget pact.

According to documentation provided by the joint Legislative Budget Conference Committee, which is to take up the plan today, the CSU system will receive $199 million to backfill previous cuts. The plan also includes funding for enrollment growth, which may be a $60.6 million increase. This is in addition to $106 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding allocated to the CSU by the federal government last week. In total, this budget support equates roughly to the $365 million augmentation proposed by the Governor earlier this year.

“This funding is a welcome change of trajectory for the 23 California State University campuses,” said Lillian Taiz, President of the California faculty Association and a professor of History at CSU Los Angeles.

Taiz continued, “The CSU truly is the economic engine for California and restoring this vital funding is an important part of putting our state back on the road to economic recovery.”

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, citing the need to fund California’s future first, announced an increase in public higher education funding in his initial budget proposal in January. The Governor later said that he would not sign a budget that did not include budgetary support for the CSU and UC. Democratic leaders in the legislature also prioritized public higher education in their budget proposals and fought hard to keep higher education funding in the final budget deal.
These pronouncements came on the heels of campus protests and demonstrations at California’s colleges and universities that captured the imagination of the public and illustrated the growing need to fund higher education.

“This funding increase is a much needed salve for our students and faculty who have seen their futures slipping away due to persistent budget cuts in recent years,” said Taiz. “This change of direction toward restoring the CSU budget would not have happened if we had not stood up and said that public higher education is important and worth fighting for.”

The $199 million would backfill a "one-time" reduction to the CSU budget for 2009/10. The $60.6 million would fund the expansion of enrollment by over 8,000 additional students system-wide.

Despite this additional proposed funding, the CSU’s level of state funded support remains far below that of previous years. Since 2007/08, the CSU has seen a reduction of $625 million in state support.

This lack of funding has resulted in harmful cost-cutting measures including massive student fee hikes, cuts to enrollment and the furloughs and layoffs of thousands of faculty and other employees.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Furlough Ruling Doesn't Apply to CSU Workers

On October 4th, the California Supreme Court ruled that state employee furloughs were legal, and thus employees were not entitled to back-pay.

While this ruling is indeed disappointing, please keep in mind that no matter what the decision might have been, it would not have applied to CSUEU represented employees.

The reason for this is because CSUEU negotiated with the CSU over the implementation of state-mandated furloughs, and an agreement was ratified by the majority of our membership. Other state agencies had the furloughs imposed upon them, without being given the opportunity to bargain over the effects.

The complete Supreme Court story, along with a copy of the decision, may be found at Court Rules State Furloughs Legal