Aug. 31, 1998 Vol. III, No. 1

Cal State Pursuing Post-CETI Technology Funding Plan

New Approach to Seek State Support and Other Contributions

Despite the summer demise of the proposed CETI partnership, Cal State officials already are crafting a new plan that seeks to build out the system's technology infrastructure by tapping several funding sources, including the state's capital outlay program.

Cal State Northridge officials who have participated in briefings on the subject said CSU officials hope to soon release documents to the 23-campus system spelling out the details of the latest technology funding plan, permitting consultation during the fall semester.

"An improved [state] financial environment and legislative support for utilizing technology to address the urgent need to improve teacher preparation, for example, provide a climate in which new funding strategies can be pursued," said CSUN President Blenda J. Wilson.

"The need still exists. Everything that CETI was trying to accomplish still needs to be accomplished," added Mark Crase, one of CSUN's representatives to the Cal State system's Systemwide Internal Partnership (SIP) team. That group had been planning CETI and now is working on its successor.

Last June 26, Cal State Chancellor Charles Reed announced the end of discussions over the proposed California Educational Technology Initiative (CETI) partnership between the CSU and telecommunications giant GTE Corp., which would have been the proposal's main private-sector partner.

CETI had envisioned the CSU partnering with four or more corporations to build out the system's technology infrastructure at an estimated cost of $250 million to $300 million. But ultimately, amid a range of concerns, CSU and GTE said they were unable to reach agreement on financial terms.

Art Elbert, CSUN's vice president for administration and finance, said the current discussions envision the CSU pursuing several funding sources to pay for the upgrades. Those chiefly would include state capital outlay funds, if state voters in November approve an education bond act.

Elbert said the CSU also is looking at financing some upgrades using the system's own budget resources and seeking campus commitments, among other sources. Officials said the latest plan envisions an internal partnership among the campuses, unlike CETI's notion of external partners.

Crase noted that the current proposal envisions a somewhat longer technology buildout period than CETI, perhaps four to five years. Because desktop computer hardware, software and support needs are not eligible for capital outlay funds, support and funding strategies for those needs are being pursued on a separate but parallel track.

-John Chandler

August 31, 1998

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