This rejection of the extra CSU money came despite many months of heavy lobbying by CSU faculty members, staff and students and other behind-the-scenes activities to win the funding augmentation. If passed it would have been 3 percent on top of a 3 percent increase included in the governor's January and May Revise budgets.
CFA President John Travis pointed out, "The 3 percent funding increase approved by the Conference Committee isn't really even an increase. It’s only a partial restoration of the more than half-billion dollars in cuts from the CSU budget made over the past few years."
There is no doubt, however you choose to slice political fairness around the budget, that the CSU is getting the short end. Consider the number of students served and the money to serve them -- more students, less money than in 2002/03. This has all kinds of negative fallout, including fewer, larger classes, lower faculty and staff salaries, higher workloads and fewer tenure-track positions.
Or, consider the increase in state revenues: $7.5 billion. Look at how much of that money flowed to the CSU: none. One comes to the same conclusion: CSU shortchanged.
On the other hand, consider the restoration of funding to the K-12, community colleges and UC budgets. Compare those to the CSU restoration. Same conclusion. The CSU is not getting a fair share of state funding.
Not everyone will agree on the reasons why the CSU is faring so poorly with the governor and the Legislature, despite our best efforts. CFA has pushed consistently on the CSU administration and Trustees to fight harder for budget augmentations beyond the increases called for in the Compact.
Neither the governor nor the legislators, apparently, want to address honestly the impact of the half-billion in cuts suffered by the CSU.
On the first day the Conference Committee took up the proposed extra funding, the CSU administration threw in a letter of support. That was a big step for this administration. But it came so late it could be considered half-hearted and insincere.
What makes this so hard for CFA leaders is that when the Compact was negotiated by the CSU administration, we predicted the Compact would be a ceiling that limits the possibility of future funding. Under pressure from CFA, the administration claimed it would serve as floor -- minimal funding, not maximum.
Unfortunately for all of us, CFA's prediction has been right. Times have improved, and state revenues are up. Other public education sectors are prospering. CSU is stuck with a badly constructed Compact, and our administration is taking "baby steps" to distance itself from the long-range, badly conceived deal it struck in the Compact.
We hold the legislative leadership responsible for the outcome this year. The Assembly Speaker and the Senate Pro Tem have let us down two years in a row.
The CSU, our students included, deserve better treatment from these two key leaders. The voters in their districts deserve a different perspective from the two of them on the CSU budget issue.
Categories: General News, Legislation |
Posted: 6/14/2006 |