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May 17, 2004

Budget update highlight of town hall meeting

Audio of the town hall meeting

An update on the University’s budget situation was the primary topic at President Alexander Gonzalez’ last town hall meeting of the academic year.

At the Monday, May 17 event Gonzalez said it appears that the University will not be required to take any additional cuts beyond what the campus had already prepared for in 2004-05.

“It looks like we’re going to be okay. It’s much better than I had expected,” Gonzalez said. But he also noted that next year’s funding is dependent on the results of a proposed fee increase to be voted on by the Board of Trustees during their meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The bottom line is that there is a $200 million budget projected for the campus,” he said. “Student fees are part of the projected revenue.”

As it stands, he said, the budget shows the campus to be under-allocated for next year. “The reduction to the campus is about $10 million. That’s a big, big cut,” he said. The good news, he added, is that because of decisions made over the last few years, the campus will be able to dip into savings and deferred expenditures to meet the reduction.

“There is enough rollover to cover the deficit without decimating the University,” he said, noting that no full-time staff, including part-time lecturers working full time, will be laid off. The number of course selections should be close to this year. Additional funds will be saved by moving the operation of summer school classes to the College of Continuing Education, which places them on a self-supporting rather than general fund basis.

Gonzalez also explained that the “compact” between the CSU system, the UC system and the governor’s office will impact future growth and funding. “If the compact holds, we’ll be okay. If it doesn’t, we’ll be in trouble,” he said.

The compact calls for the campus to absorb cuts to enrollment growth already planned for next year. But beginning in 2005-06, enrollment will be allowed to grow by 3 percent per year for the next three years, as long as financial conditions remain the same.

Gonzalez says the downside is that because of the cuts the campus has already taken, it will take at least three years to get back to where we are this year.

The campus has not redirected any students toward community colleges as some CSUs have had to, he said. He also expressed his concern about the long-term effects of redirection because students who are redirected will not be able to transfer until they have completed their community college coursework.

The president also provided updates on a number of future construction projects:

  • Now that the students have approved the recreation, wellness and events center, a Destination 2010 committee will convene after commencement to begin to define the project’s scope. The center’s start date is dependent on private funding.
  • More than 60 developers have expressed interest in the projected on-campus student housing. Proposals will be submitted by Friday, May 21.
  • Construction on the 3,200-space Parking Structure III will begin after the Olympic Trials. The President and the facilities management staff are looking at potential off-campus properties to use as overflow parking during construction.
  • Plans for the new bookstore, to be located next to Parking Structure II, are moving ahead. Once completed, the old bookstore will be expanded to serve as a food court for the north end of campus.
  • The University has formalized the working agreement with Placer Ranch to develop a campus in Placer County. The nearly 300-acre site will have land put aside for student housing as well as for faculty and staff. Gonzalez also said the space is being designed to be self-sustaining in order to not siphon resources from the main campus and to enable it to eventually become its own campus.

In other announcements, Gonzalez said there won’t be any changes in the athletics program in the short term. A review of the gender equity status, staffing issues and funding is moving forward.

The PowerPoint presentation of the budget can be requested from Jon Self at 916-278-7461 or e-mail: selfj@csus.edu.