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Governor's 2011-12 Budget Proposal


January 18, 2011

To all Cal State Northridge faculty and staff members,

Though it is early in the budget cycle, this message is to share what is known so far about the 2011-12 state and CSU budgets.

On January 10, 2011 Governor Jerry Brown released his initial budget proposal for the 2011-12 fiscal year. The Governor's January budget proposal is annually revised in May based on updated revenue projections and then submitted to the legislature. The 2011-12 fiscal year begins July 1, 2011.

The Governor’s January budget plan identifies a projected $26.4 billion state budget shortfall, which the Governor proposes to resolve with $12.5 billion in spending cuts, $12 billion in new revenue, and $1.9 billion from other actions.

Overall, the budget proposal calls for a $1.4 billion reduction in state support for public higher education. The proposal cuts the California State University (CSU) system budget by $500 million, or 18 percent. It additionally cuts the University of California (UC) system budget by $500 million and the California Community Colleges budget by $400 million. This proposed $500 million reduction in state support to the CSU would render the state support budget for the upcoming year as roughly equivalent to that for 1999-2000, even though the CSU system now serves nearly 70,000 more students.

The Governor’s January proposal is considered a “best case” scenario, predicated on the state legislature authorizing a special election in June and voters approving a five-year extension of temporary tax increases that have been scheduled to expire on or before June 30, 2011. Approximately $9 billion of revenue assumed in the Governor’s January budget proposal depends on this proposed special election. Governor Brown has not yet specified the consequences of failure to secure these revenues, but such loss would raise the potential for significant additional cuts to the CSU and public higher education in general.

With the announcement of the Governor’s proposal, CSU Chancellor Reed stated that: “As we have before, [the CSU] will need to look at every option in order to develop a comprehensive plan to address a reduction of this magnitude. There will inevitably be difficult choices as we move forward, and no single solution will be enough to meet this challenge.” The Chancellor and campus presidents will work over the next several weeks to develop a comprehensive plan to address anticipated budget cuts.

In a letter to campus presidents and the Board of Trustees, Chancellor Reed stated that the CSU will endeavor to minimize the impact on students. He stated, “it is paramount that we preserve the quality of the academic programs, the quality of the academic experience and necessary support services to ensure student success. Access to the university must mean authentic access, where we can provide adequate classes and services for our students.”

The Chancellor further spoke of continuing efforts to ensure state elected officials and lawmakers fully understand the importance of higher education to the future of California.

At this early date, the specific implications for Cal State Northridge have yet to be determined. We will provide more information as it becomes available, so please regularly check the Campus Budget News website accessible from the main campus webpage, and watch for future communications from myself and Vice President for Administration and Finance Tom McCarron.

But I can assure you that, as always, our highest priority at Cal State Northridge is to preserve the excellence of our academic programs, thereby ensuring that we continue to provide quality education and a quality experience for our students. It is our faculty and staff who make this possible.

Through the budget challenges of the past several years, Cal State Northridge has planned well, been a prudent steward, and accomplished significant cost savings and efficiencies. These actions, accomplished through the talents, hard work, and dedication of our faculty and staff,  have ensured the ability of Cal State Northridge to continue to invest in the future of our University and advance in a positive direction. As we look forward, we are currently in the process of hiring approximately 100 new tenure-track faculty members; that remains unchanged. We are offering an increased number of classes in the spring to meet the needs of our students. We continue to grow the types and quality of support services available to students as they work to complete their educations.

Thank you for your good work, and best wishes to all of you as we begin this spring 2011 semester.

Jolene Koester

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