Budget Update from President Ortiz

Budget Update from President Ortiz
President Michael Ortiz

Last Friday, Chancellor Reed sent out a system-wide message about the governor's 18-month 2009-10 state budget and its impact on the California State University. Let me provide you with a campus-based look at the proposed budget as to how it will immediately impact Cal Poly Pomona.

The decision by the governor to formulate an 18-month budget illustrates the severity of the state's fiscal health. The state legislature and the governor have been unable, to date, to restructure our 2008-09 budget and address the unprecedented shortfall in revenues.  As a result, all state-supported entities have been asked to reduce spending without delay.

Last month, the state froze $3.8 billion in infrastructure funding disbursements, resulting in the suspension of all general obligation bond-approved capital construction projects in the state, including our new $34 million College of Business Administration building and $3.5 million for other campus projects that support the University Library, building 3 seismic retrofit and other important projects. The chancellor and the Board of Trustees also declared a system-wide impaction last month, meaning the CSU has more fully eligible applicants than it is able to support with its current funding.

Cal Poly Pomona's financial team recognized these fiscal issues almost a year ago, allowing us to plan accordingly and make sure our decisions would not dramatically impact our ability to deliver instruction. Many of the chancellor's requests have long been in place on our campus, but it is clear that we need to step up our efforts.

While the chancellor has called for an 18-month freeze on all salaries for CSU presidents, vice presidents, vice chancellors and the chancellor, Cal Poly Pomona will extend a similar freeze to all MPP salaries across the board. In addition, state or foundation-sponsored international travel must be deemed mission critical by the respective vice president.

As I mentioned, our budget practice has been more conservative. The vice presidents were asked last fall to ensure that any hiring, travel or procurement decision was carefully scrutinized. In doing so, we suspended filling a number of positions on campus and protected operational funds.

In my fall video address, I noted that I believe we will survive this and next year, but it will require sacrifices by all of us. We need to shoulder the weight together. I cannot be more proud of the things you are doing, every day, in support of our students. I look forward to hearing ways where we can be more efficient and collaborative.

Thank you and best wishes this quarter,

Michael Ortiz