President's Letter to the Campus Community
Dear CSULB Students, Faculty, and Staff:
As we begin a new fiscal year (and yes, once again, without a state budget), I want to update you on our university's budget status. The campus budget planning process has been arduous with a tremendous amount of effort being focused on two main goals: to maintain our commitment to the educational mission of the university; and to preserve the jobs of our permanent employees. Let me first thank all of you for your hard work, dedication, patience, and understanding as we close 2009–10 and start the 2010–11 year.
While our budget is not completely certain until the state legislature passes a state budget for the 2010–11 fiscal year, we enter the new year with the same budget assumptions and parameters that guided our financial planning during the fall and early spring. This means that we begin the new fiscal year with two important elements: first, that there will be no employee furloughs; and second, that there will be no additional lay–offs of permanent employees due to lack of funds at this time.
Unfortunately, we still are anticipating the non–replacement of temporary employees as their assignments end and the non–appointment of temporary lecturers. But in contrast to last year, we are in a better position for a number of reasons. You may remember the difficulties we experienced around this time last year implementing the 2009–10 furlough program and the lay–off of several permanent SETC employees when that bargaining unit opted for layoffs rather than furloughs. So although our final budget situation for 2010–11 remains unknown, which unfortunately has become much more commonplace than what most of us would like to see at the inception of our fiscal year, I am pleased that we can convey some updated news to everyone.
As earlier mentioned in my email last Friday, due to the amount of concern expressed by our faculty and staff over the recent developments regarding the issue of minimum wage for state employees and the court ruling late last week allowing the minimum wage mandate to move forward, I am pleased to inform you that as a CSU institution we are not impacted by this ruling or the Governor's considerations regarding this development. Furthermore, a few weeks ago, the CSU Board of Trustees voted to raise the State University Fee by 5 percent for undergraduates and graduate professional programs. The board's decision to limit the student fee increase to 5 percent instead of 10 percent was based on the California State Assembly budget committee proposal that provides additional state revenues as a partial replacement for the additional 5 percent CSU fee revenues. The board also left open the option of revisiting fee levels in November if the state does not fully fund the Governor's proposed budget and the Assembly's 5 percent student fee buyout proposal.
It is now the beginning of July and the constitutional deadline for having a final budget for 2010–11 has come and gone. The month of July is typically a scheduled legislative recess period. Assembly Speaker Perez and Senate President Pro Tem Steinberg have indicated their plan is to send legislative representatives home to their districts to work during July and to be ready to return to Sacramento on short notice. During the recess Perez, Steinberg, Republican legislative leaders, and the 10–person joint budget conference committee are expected to continue discussions about how to close the state's projected $19 billion deficit. Until these meetings take place and a resolution is reached, little can be done regarding the finalization of our state budget.
So once again, we begin the fiscal year without a final budget and with much uncertainty about what our final budget will look like or when it will be final. In the meantime, we will continue to finalize our enrollment plans, class schedules, limited faculty appointments, and other plans for the fall semester that is rapidly approaching. This is a very difficult task under ideal conditions, however, we know that everyone is doing their best despite these circumstances.
For those interested in the ongoing facility improvements on campus this summer, I am pleased to share with you that our new School of Nursing building is nearing completion which also will alleviate construction delays along Beach Drive. This facility is scheduled to open in mid–August. The Student Recreation and Wellness Center also is nearing completion and is scheduled to open around the same time in August. As for the new Hall of Science, construction continues to move forward ahead of schedule and should be completed at some point during the next academic year. As you recall, these projects were not funded through the state General Fund. Everyone's patience has been greatly appreciated as we continue to try to provide campus facility enhancements that reflect the strength of our very vibrant educational mission.
Thank you for your dedication to our university and students.
F. King Alexander