CSU budget hike on Governor’s agenda

Greg Kane

Budget hike by the numbers:

23 Campuses

42,000 Faculty and Staff

388,700 Current Full-Time Students Expected for 2002-03

12,030 Additional Full-Time Students

$3.5 Billion CSU System Budget Proposed for 2002-03.

Gov. Gray Davis proposed a $116.9 million general fund increase for the California State University in his 2002-03 state budget plan Jan. 10 to compensate for surging enrollment in the system.

The proposed 4.5 percent increase would bring the CSU’s general fund budget to $2.7 billion. Expected fee revenue growth could bring that total to $3.5 billion, according to the CSU Chancellor’s Office. More than 12,000 new students are expected to enroll at the System’s 23 campuses over the next year.

Most of the money would go toward hiring new faculty and adding courses for the additional students, said Sacramento State Assistant Vice President of Finance John Self.

“We have to bring in a significant number of new faculty to compensate for the anticipated enrollment,” Self said.

Not all of the system’s requests were granted in the proposal, however. Several key areas, most notably employee compensation, were funded well below the CSU’s requests.

The Board of Trustees in October asked for a 4 percent increase for salaries and other compensations for employees, an increase of more than $89 million.

In the governor’s proposal it received 1 percent, or less than $23 million.The slight raised concerns both at the Sac State campus and the Chancellor’s Office, which is currently trying to come to a contract agreement with the California Faculty Association.

The CFA is currently without a contract after refusing to settle for the 2 percent increase from this year’s budget.

“Definitely, this is way below the expectations of the CSU and the Chancellor,” said CSU spokeswoman Clara Potes-Fellow. “We are having problems getting into an agreement with the CFA with a 2 percent increase this year, and it’s only 1 percent next year.”

Though the money from the budget would effectively compensate for the enrollment boom, other areas such as maintenance of facilities, library acquisitions and salaries, wouldn’t benefit, Self said.

“There’s a tremendous maintenance backlog on these campuses,” Self said. “That money isn’t there.”

Another concern is whether the money from the increase will be available after revisions.

The budget has to go through both the State Assembly and Senate before the governor revises it in May and submits it for approval. Fears of a budget deficit could force legislators to make cuts, Potes-Fellow said.

“Anything could happen,” Potes-Fellow said. “All these 120 individuals (in the Assembly and the Senate) might have ideas different to the governor’s, and might propose changes.”

Self said changes are likely to occur before the final budget is submitted in June, but he doesn’t think those changes will affect the CSU’s portion.

“I don’t expect the governor’s (proposed) budget to be the final budget,” Self said. “Do I think we will lose our enrollment growth money? No.”

“If we can hang on to what’s in the governor’s (current) budget, this campus will be tickled pink.”