Our View: CSU and Gov. Brown should compromise on state funding
After one of the system’s most difficult fiscal years in recent history, the Cal State University has asked Gov. Jerry Brown for $237.6 million in funding for the next fiscal year.
The funding request made by the CSU at last week’s Board of Trustees meeting is $95.4 million more than what Brown had proposed for the system.
“Everyone made a serious effort to try and strike a balance between what are our needs, recognizing that at the state level there are all kinds of competing demands for what are not unlimited state resources,” CSU Assistant Vice Chancellor for the Budget Robert Turnage said.
With part of its $237.6 million request, the CSU hopes to enroll approximately 20,000 additional students for the 2014-15 academic year.
The CSU also wants to address maintenance and infrastructure needs with the increase.
Although additional funding for the CSU would greatly benefit students, faculty and administrators, we find it ridiculous that the CSU has to ask for so much.
During last year’s budget talks, Brown already agreed to increase state funding to the CSU over the next few years.
Yet, even with Brown’s promised funding for next year, the CSU still felt the need to ask for $95.4 million more than Brown proposed.
For 2013-14, Brown allocated $125.1 million in state funding to the CSU.
For 2014-15, Brown has proposed $142.2 million in state funding for the 23-campus system. He also has plans to increase state funding for the CSU for the next two years.
If he provides the funding he promised—or, if the CSU is lucky, provide more than promised— Brown will validate his commitment to higher education.
It’s not likely the CSU will receive the additional $95.4 million it’s asking for. The system should be prepared for the day when its hopes are not met.
The wide gap between what the CSU needs and Brown is prepared to give highlights a state funding issue.
It’s one thing to ask for a modest 10 percent increase in funding.
It’s another thing, however, when the CSU asks the governor for an approximate 67 percent increase in funding.
Brown and the CSU should further discuss the 23-campus system’s funding needs and try to meet somewhere in the middle.
Doing otherwise would be counterproductive and could leave the CSU yearning for more later on.