News from Sacramento
by Charles P. Nash, Vice President External Relations, UCFA
UC Budget Activity:
At this writing there are hot and heavy goings-on in Sacramento. The so-called “May Revision” of the Governor’s Budget has been submitted to the Legislature for its consideration, and as documented below, it has not been well received there.
In the good-news category, the May Revision would increase the 2004-2005 General Fund support for the UC and CSU systems by $20.8 million vs. the January budget proposal. Among the changes, it is now proposed that undergraduate fees be increased by 14% rather than the 10% figure in the January budget, and instead of the original 40% increase in graduate student fees, they be increased by 20% for “academic” graduate students and credential candidates and about 30% for students in professional schools.
As widely reported in the press, the May Revision also announced that the Governor had established a six-year “compact” with UC and CSU (ed. reminiscent of earlier agreements the institutions thought they had forged with Governors Wilson and Davis. When budget problems arose, said agreements essentially wound up in the circular file.) In substance the “compact” with the current Governor provides that beginning with the 2005-2006 budget year the institutions would receive compounded General Fund base budget increases of 3%, 3%, 4%, and three of 5%. They would also receive General Fund support for annual enrollment growth of 2.5%–roughly 5,000 students at UC and 8,000 at CSU. (Not surprisingly, the six-year duration of the agreement has raised eyebrows in many Sacramento venues.)
On their part, the universities agreed to increase undergraduate student fees by 8% in 2005-06 and 2006-07, and in subsequent years by the growth rate of per capita income. Graduate student fees would gradually rise toward a goal of 150% of undergraduate fees. The systems would be allowed to retain all their fee revenue, thereby giving them new funding on top of the General Fund increases mentioned above.
As has always been true, the Legislature is not a party to the “compact,” but as a practical matter future Governors’ annual budget messages will most likely reflect its provisions. If this year’s budget activities are indicative of Legislative attitudes, future Governors will face some very bumpy roads. In May, the Higher Education Budget Subcommittees of both houses of the Legislature took dead aim at the May revise and proposed 2004-2005 budget augmentations totaling more than $200 million. With some differences between the actions of the two committees, said proposed augmentations included inter alia employee cost-of-living increases of 2.41%, fully-funded enrollment growth ignoring the Governor’s proposed redirection of 10% of the freshman class to the community colleges, a reduction in the undergraduate fee increase to 10% from the proposed 14%, restoration of funding for outreach, restoration of funding for the Institute for Labor and Employment, and the restoration of campus-based student financial aid funding to 33% of the student fee revenues, up from the Governor’s proposed figure of 20%.
If things proceed as expected, the full Budget Committees of both houses will begin considering the various subcommittee reports in late May and shortly thereafter could have budget bills up for votes by their respective colleagues. In theory, differences between the versions passed by the Assembly and the Senate will be reconciled in a two-house, bipartisan conference committee. Recent practice, however, has put most of the final responsibility in the hands an extra-legal “big five;” namely, the Governor and the majority and minority leaders of the two houses of the legislature. It will be very interesting to see how things unfold this time.
On a totally different front, the Council of UC Faculty Associations has formally supported AB 2800 (Mountjoy), a bill that would, in effect, make it illegal for individuals to offer to produce and/or sell, or for students in California High Schools to buy written material of any kind that is to be turned in for academic grading and credit. (Few if any faculty members know that the Donahoe Act, aka the Master Plan for Higher Education, already makes this practice illegal in colleges and universities.) Assemblymember Mountjoy has agreed to consider our request that the bill be amended to proscribe the preparation and/or sale of the “personal statements” that are now required of applicants to virtually all the four-year Colleges and Universities in the State.
This entry was posted on Saturday, May 15th, 2004 at 8:39 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.