SF State News {University Communications}

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Governor releases grim budget proposal

Note: The following e-mail was sent on 1/10/11 to all faculty and staff.


Dear Colleague:


A few hours ago Governor Brown released his proposed budget for the next fiscal year containing a staggering cut of $1.4 billion dollars for higher education -- $500 million each for the California State University and the University of California and $400 million for the California Community College system. The Governor proposes to reduce the CSU General Revenue by 18 percent to the $2.2 billion allocated in 1999-2000 when the system served 70,000 fewer students. The reduction is for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, and no mid-year cut for 2010-2011 is being proposed.


It is still too early to know what the dollar impact will be on San Francisco State University but I anticipate that our share of $500 million will be at least $32 million. This is on top of the systemic shortfall in our budget that may be as high as $18 million. The reduction in General Revenue will be partially offset by the 10 percent increase in the State University Fee approved by the Board of Trustees at its November meeting. 


We have been told that the 18 percent cut in the CSU budget is considered to be the "best case scenario," which, translated, means that we do not share in any additional tax revenue generated by proposals currently under consideration and that we could see our budget cut even further if California voters decline to support such revenue increases at the special election requested by the Governor.


As a campus, our first responsibility should be to convince the Governor and the Legislature that to follow through with a cut of this enormity would be disastrous.  As Chancellor Reed has said, the size "of the budget reduction in one year will have serious impacts on the state's economy, limit access for students seeking entrance into our universities, and restrict classes and services for our current students."  The depth of the State’s budget crisis suggests that this time, however strong the legislative and public support for higher education, funds simply may not be available to markedly change our circumstances.  Responsible planning requires that even as we seek a better outcome, that we prepare to deal with the reality of the Governor’s budget, as harsh as it is.


A cut of such unprecedented magnitude will require dramatic -- and painful -- steps to bring SF State's 2011-12 budget into balance.  As you know, a new state budget takes effect July 1, 2011, at the start of the fiscal year. Our work must begin immediately. Fortunately, we have the thoughtful efforts of the University Planning Advisory Council (UPAC) to build upon as well as the work of the University Budget Committee, a group with faculty, staff and student representation, with whom I will meet later this week. Other meetings are being scheduled with the college deans, vice presidents and other talented, dedicated and highly experienced individuals from across the campus as we undertake this difficult task.   


While the fiscal forecast is grim, SF State is fortunate in several respects. We have seen this university community's exceptional ability to prevail in hard times through fortitude, a shared sense of values, and a willingness to work together on the common aim of providing our students with an excellent education. We have demonstrated our skill in putting limited resources to effective use for our educational mission. These qualities will again see us through trying times.


As we learn more, and as we work to keep SF State in fundamental respects the university we know and value, I will continue to communicate with the campus community and share additional information as it is received. 


-- Robert A. Corrigan, president

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