President's Letter to the Campus Community
Dear CSULB Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Governor Schwarzenegger released the May Revision of the state budget on May 14, 2010 as expected. The good news is that the May Revision continues to prioritize higher education above many other areas by proposing to restore to the CSU $305 million that had been reduced in recent budgets. Additionally, the May Revision contains increased funding of an additional $60.6 million to support enrollment growth for the CSU. An important development is that in the Governor's January budget proposal, this additional enrollment funding was contingent upon the state receiving a certain amount of federal funds for other state programs. The May Revision removes this contingency language.
If the CSU ultimately receives this funding, it would represent a year-to-year increase in overall CSU resources from 2009-10. This would be welcomed news coming on the heels of the devastating reductions we suffered during the last two years. While this funding is not sufficient to offset all recent budget cuts, it would lessen the amount of the budget reduction currently contained in CSULB's plans for 2010-11. This funding would allow us to increase our enrollment target and retain some of the course sections that may have been targeted to be cut next semester. This would, of course, be good news for our university community.
Despite these positive indications, it is important to remember that this is still a budget proposal, not a final budget. California remains in the midst of extremely challenging fiscal circumstances and many of the Governor's proposals for deep reductions and program eliminations are controversial. As proposed, this state budget will likely face a very difficult reception in the Legislature and may not be finalized until late summer or early fall.
I realize the difficulty this uncertainty causes for all of you involved with enrollment planning, course scheduling, faculty hiring, and general planning for the fall semester. Unfortunately, this kind of state budgetary practice has become far too commonplace in California, where more than 30 percent of our overall CSU budget is left undetermined well into the new fiscal year.
Additionally, in a court ruling this week, a Superior Court in Alameda County ruled that the California State University can proceed in offering "self–supported" summer sessions, rather than having to use limited state funds to provide summer classes or eliminate our summer sessions altogether. Many of our students and faculty expressed great concern regarding this potential decision that would have most likely eliminated all summer courses if the Superior Court had ruled against the CSU.
As we progress into the summer months, we remain committed to working with our faculty, staff, and students to find the best solutions during these unprecedented fiscal times. Despite these difficulties, I have complete confidence that we will continue to work collaboratively to provide our students with high–quality educational experiences. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available in the coming weeks.
F. King Alexander