State Budget Includes Delayed Tuition-Fee Buy Out
The CSU’s 2012-13 budget remains essentially flat but includes two potential significant cuts if the governor’s November tax initiative fails.
Seeking to close a nearly $16 billion deficit, the governor last week signed the state budget which relies heavily on voters approving to raise taxes on the wealthy and to raise the sales tax a quarter cent to avoid deeper cuts to schools, higher education and other programs. If the tax measure fails, the CSU will suffer an additional $250 million “trigger” cut, on top of prior cuts totaling nearly $1 billion.
In addition, the budget includes the option of a delayed tuition fee “buy out” for the CSU, which includes an appropriation of $125 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year. The buy out, however, is contingent on two provisions: the governor’s tax initiative must pass, and the CSU must choose to reset its tuition fee rates for the 2012-13 academic year back to 2011-12 fiscal year levels.
However, not only does the CSU have higher tuition fee rates in effect for 2012-13, but it has already collected the tuition fees from continuing students. Consequently, complying with the second condition of the buy out would require the CSU Board of Trustees to rescind its November 2011 tuition increase and refund it to students for fall 2012, leaving the CSU with a $132 million one-time hole in its budget for 2012-13.The $125 million appropriation in 2013-14 would cover about 95 percent of the ongoing loss from resetting rates to 2011-12 levels, but it would not compensate for the one-time loss in 2012-13.
If the board decides at its September meeting to accommodate this legislation, it could rescind the tuition fee increase for the 2012-13 academic year, contingent on passage of the November tax measure. Under this scenario, campuses would begin processing refunds or credits for fall 2012 after the tax measure’s passage, and students registering for spring 2013 would pay the 2011-12 rates.
CSU executives have been working to address the potential $132 million loss that could result from a board choice to rescind the tuition fee increase, and have secured support from the governor’s office for a budget “clean-up” bill that would grant the CSU authority to move surplus balances from continuing education to mitigate impacts on state-supported instruction regardless of the election’s outcome. This “fix” would address roughly half of the $132 million loss. The CSU is exploring options to address the remaining gap as well as looking at contingencies to address the potential $250 million trigger cut.
The budget also reduces the Cal Grant B access award from $1,551 to $1,473, which impacts approximately 50,000 CSU students. More information.
CSU Community Weighs in on Search for New Chancellor
Representatives from student, faculty, employee, alumni and auxiliary groups spoke about the qualities they would like to see in the next chancellor at a meeting of the Special Committee for the Selection of the Chancellor last week.
A politically astute academic leader with relevant experience in higher education, the ability to be a strong advocate for the CSU at the state level, and a record of transparency and accessibility were frequently heard recommendations, along with someone who is familiar with the uniqueness of the CSU and understands the challenges the university is facing.
A number of attendees requested that the committee publicly announce the finalists and have them meet with campus constituencies. Other items on the wish list included higher education teaching experience, a strong background in shared governance, a commitment to improving student retention and accessibility, and the ability to create strong ties with the CSU community and external communities.
Chaired by Trustee Bill Hauck, the committee convened the session to receive input from the CSU community and the public on the qualities it should look for in candidates. Invited speakers, as well as members of the public in attendance were encouraged to share their vision. “We are committed to having the CSU community and various stakeholders have a voice,” Hauck said, noting that in addition to the public session, anyone can provide input or direct questions to the selection committee by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by joining the conversation on Facebook.
Tentative Agreement Reached with SUPA – Public Safety
The CSU and the State University Police Association (SUPA) have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year collective bargaining agreement covering the 350 public safety officers in the CSU. The parties agreed that salaries and benefits would be maintained for the 2011-12 fiscal year at the current rates and that either side may reopen salary and benefits in fiscal years 2012-13 and 2013-14.
In addition, the parties agreed to needed clarifications in the agreement.
“Given the fiscal challenges the university has faced and will continue to face, this agreement provides stability in terms and conditions of employment and is a welcome conclusion to bargaining,” said CSU Vice Chancellor Gail Brooks. SUPA President Jeff Solomon further stated, “SUPA is keenly aware of the uncertainty surrounding the state budget, and appreciates the cooperation of the CSU to address quality-of-life issues within the MOU. We look forward to addressing salary issues for unit eight members in the future. I would like to thank the SUPA executive board, and the CSU’s negotiation team for their hard work and dedication in reaching a tentative agreement.”
SUPA will conduct its ratification vote within the coming weeks. Upon ratification, the CSU will take the contract to the Board of Trustees for ratification in July.