University Budget Summit
President gives overview of budget planning
CSUS President Alexander Gonzalez spelled out the current financial situation of the campus and announced the formation of an advisory committee to assist him in planning for potential funding cuts, during the inaugural "budget summit" in the Hinde Auditorium, Feb. 23
"This is the first of what I think will be several budget town halls - or budget summits - we'll have to keep you informed of the budget process and where we are at this point," he said.
Gonzalez said the campus is working from the budget presented by Gov. Schwarzenegger in January, which calls for more than $11 million in cuts at CSUS as well as a 5 percent decrease in student enrollment.
He explained that when there is enrollment growth in the CSU system, as there has been in previous years, additional money is allocated. Because there was no growth this year - in fact there were reductions - the appropriation is smaller. Fewer students also mean significantly less revenue from fees and financial aid.
The governor's budget calls for a total general fund allocation for the CSU system in 2004-05 of $3.7 billion with the CSUS portion at $191 million. The total reduction CSUS is currently planning to take for 2004-05 is $11.6 million.
"It's pretty steep but not as bad as it could've been," Gonzalez said. But he noted that the University's portion of the governor's budget could be significantly altered if bond measures 55 and 57 on the March 2 ballot fail and mentioned the possibility of other revisions down the road. He also expects to have more details after a March 10 budget summary from the CSU Chancellor's Office.
Whatever the outcome, Gonzalez said, the next step is to determine how to take the reductions. Challenges include how to cope with suggestions from the governor's office to raise the student-to-faculty ratio, curtail educational opportunity programs and redirect lower-division students to community college.
To help make the difficult decisions Gonzalez said he will solicit recommendations from a newly formed budget advisory group. The members are Christy Jensen, public policy and administration professor; Bob Buckley, chair of the Faculty Senate; Paul Noble, associate vice president for planning and budget; Jon Self, associate vice president for finance; Vicky Valle, associate vice president for enrollment management; Alice Tom, dean of the College of Continuing Education; and Peter Ucovich, Associated Students president.
Gonzalez said the advisory group will meet with his cabinet to discuss potential reductions. The recommendations will then go to the Council for University Planning for discussion and then back to him for approval. He expects the process to take several months, during which time he intends to give regular progress reports to the campus.
On the possibility of a student fee hike on the heels of previous 10 and 30 percent increases, Gonzalez said that realistically students should expect another 10 percent rise. "If they don't go up we'll have to absorb the loss of revenue," he said.
In addition to talking about the process, Gonzalez also went over some of the details of the budget itself:
- CSUS is at the top of the list in the California State University system in funds designated for instruction. In 2003-04's $203 million budget, of the 69 percent of the budget that is program center-based, more than 67 percent is allocated for instruction and student affairs.
- The majority of spending goes to faculty and staff salaries and benefits. In 2002-03, for example, more than 76 percent of expenditures were for employment.
- Students make up 91 percent of the campus population of 31,173. Full- and part-time faculty comprise 61 percent of employees.
In coping with the current budget situation, Gonzalez stressed the need to look forward. "We're in a cycle," he said. "Now is the time to start planning. We need to work with the budget. We need to stay on target, serve students the best way we can and move them forward toward graduation."