President Ortiz Announces Budget Planning Vision

President Ortiz Announces Budget Planning Vision
President Michael Ortiz shares his vision of the university and responds to questions during a special one-hour University Budget Summit.

Donna Tillman, an International Business and Marketing professor, asks President Ortiz a question during the University Budget Summit.

Pat Farris, vice president of Administrative Affairs, provides a budget update to more than 200 faculty, staff and students on Feb. 24 in the Bronco Student Center.

University President Michael Ortiz shared his vision of the future of the university and provided the most current budget information during a University Budget Summit on Feb. 24. More than 200 faculty, staff and students gathered for the event in the Bronco Student Center.

?Today I would like to speak to transforming Cal Poly Pomona into a learning-centered university,? said Ortiz. ?We need to refocus our efforts on how much students learn rather than how much faculty teach.?

To accomplish this, Ortiz said he will ask faculty and staff leaders ?to serve as the vehicle to establish a core set of values for a learning-centered environment? at the university.

?These faculty and staff have been engaged in discussions with campus colleagues, have participated in an ongoing dialogue with colleagues from other institutions and are prepared and willing to move this agenda to the forefront of what we do as a university,? he said.

In addressing the state?s budget crisis, Ortiz said the university has ?ridden the budget roller coaster? for the past 25 years.

?During difficult times, the question was ?where do we cut?? During the prosperous years, we asked, ?what are we going to fund??? he said. ?In essence, the university has often found itself mired in a strategy that only addressed the status quo, but not the future.?

The Cal Poly Pomona community can ?muddle along making incremental changes in anticipation of the budget cycle upturn? or it can transform itself into ?an institution which addresses structural problems that result in greater student learning and a better quality of faculty work life,? said Ortiz.

Patricia Farris, vice president of Administrative Affairs, provided a financial update for the California State University and Cal Poly Pomona.

Although it is unknown exactly how the campus will be affected until the budget is approved, the governor?s proposed budget is the best-case scenario for Cal Poly Pomona and the entire CSU, according to university officials.

Under the current proposal, funding for the CSU would be cut by $240 million, with $11 million coming from Cal Poly Pomona.

Farris said the campus has already begun planning for a 10 percent budget cut for next year.

?We can?t take anymore cuts,? said Farris. ?There has been a 16.5 percent reduction for Cal Poly Pomona over the last three years.?

The Governor?s proposed budget targets cuts toward the CSU?s outreach and educational opportunity programs and suggests fee increases. ?There are some things in the Governor?s budget that the CSU is not comfortable with,? said Farris. ?We would like to say, ?Let us decide how we take those deductions ? you just give us a figure.??

Farris explained that there are different pots of money ? general funds and capital funds ? and those funds cannot be mixed. Therefore, even though cuts may be made across the board, the campus community will continue to see the continuation of construction projects that are paid for through capital funds, such as the library renovation/addition.

In response to the tight budget situation, Ortiz will eliminate 11 of the 127 management-level positions and cancel his presidential inauguration ceremony.

President Ortiz fielded audience questions regarding student fee increases, enrollment reductions and concerns about faculty/staff layoffs.

?Fifty-five layoff notices in the CSU have been sent out and we have not sent any out,? Ortiz said.

The president also urged everyone attending to learn about Proposition 55, the Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2004, to vote and to encourage friends and family to vote.

?I want to let you know that I am supporting Prop. 55,? he said. ?This money is needed now. Our public school facilities are in dramatic need of repair and upgrade to improve safety, relieve overcrowding, reduce class sizes, and give students more access to technology and computers. We can?t wait until things arebetter with the state economy.?

If Prop 55 is passed, Cal Poly Pomona will be able to complete much-needed upgrades to building 3, the College of Science, said Ortiz.

The summit was the first in a series of budget talks, said Ortiz. He invited faculty, staff and students to join him in informal meetings twice a week to discuss funding of individual departments and groups. A schedule of these meetings will be posted on PolyCentric at a later date.

To view a Webcast of the summit, visit