February 11, 2010 - Earlier today California State University, Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell held a budget forum for employees followed by a public briefing to address ongoing budget concerns. As budget planning for the 2010-11 academic year begins, the university is anticipating a minimum of $6.4 million in reductions based on state budget projections. These new reductions are on top of the unprecedented $8 million in cuts this year which led to employee furloughs, layoffs and campus program reductions.
"Despite facing another year of agonizing budget reductions our faculty and staff continue to work hard to meet the needs of our students with continually diminishing resources," Mitchell said. "It might seem paradoxical that we are talking about additional budget reductions when the governor has proposed a restoration of some funding cuts made to the CSU last year. However, since the state faces a budget deficit of almost $20 billion over the next 18 months, there is little optimism. The word within the CSU is that there is no basis on which we should change our planning assumption for 2010-11 since the governor's budget proposal faces real challenges for securing legislative approval. The state's fiscal condition continues to deteriorate and additional cuts will have to be made locally."
As part of CSUB's strategic planning to address current and projected long-term shortfalls in state funding, the university has been guided by four strategic priorities:
- Serve as many students as possible honoring our academic mission and our role as a regional comprehensive university.
- Facilitate graduation for current students by increasing access to courses and sections required for graduation, especially for seniors.
- Ensure all department/program budgets are consistent with available resources, and determine priorities within departments/programs.
- Support faculty and staff as we work together to address our new reality.
Mitchell said the university's fundamental question is: "What can we afford to continue offering and/or doing, with quality, given our strategic priorities and current and anticipated long-term funding base?"
CSU and CSUB face many unknown factors that directly impact the budget. For CSUB, many of the unresolved issues are beyond local control and the university must wait for resolution. However, experience with past budget cycles has shown that resolution will be slow. Unresolved issues include:
- Furloughs - continuation of furloughs for staff and faculty is still unknown and must be negotiated with eight unions systemwide.
- Enrollment - CSU has mandated a 6 percent enrollment reduction for CSUB. Enrollment will be reduced by 40,000 students systemwide.
- Student fees - an increase in fees is still unknown. However, the governor's proposed budget assumes a 10 percent increase.
- Mandatory costs - there will be an increase in mandatory costs for items such as employee health insurance.
- New funds - the amount of additional funding, if any, from the state is still unknown.
"We are facing a new reality and we must adjust our campus operations accordingly. Some of the changes we can make immediately and some will take longer to implement," Mitchell explained. He proposed a number of actions to address the projected 2010-11 budget shortfall. In addition to the continuation of current restrictions on hiring, travel, purchasing and pay increases, additional actions include:
- Not filling management positions, e.g., in Academic Affairs (assistant vice president for GRASP), Student Affairs (associate vice president, dean of students) and University Advancement (assistant vice president); and/or eliminating positions, e.g., in University Advancement (associate vice president for development); and/or or doubling administrative responsibilities, e.g., NSM dean and GRASP administrator; dean EUD and interim dean School of Education.
- Not filling staff positions throughout all areas of the university.
- Consolidating administrative units (career development and service learning).
- Reducing or eliminating services ( BAS, library, IT).
- Reducing operating expenses, software maintenance and license agreements.
- Partnering with other CSUs and community for synergy and economies of scale in purchasing and/or services.
- Suspension of winter commencement exercises.
- Discontinuation of four sports programs at the end of the 2009-10 academic year: men's and women's golf, women's tennis, and wrestling.
- Reductions in work force, based on whether or not furloughs are continued.
- Exploration of a proposed change in the academic calendar from quarters to semesters. With reductions in faculty and staff positions, one advantage of the change would be that many administrative processes such as admissions, financial aid allocation, registration, fee payment and faculty advising would occur twice each year rather than three times.
- Other program reductions as necessary to align budgets with available resources.
Mitchell noted that the decisions being made impact all areas of the university and "ensure the long-term sustainability of programs" and the university's mission.
CSUB is not alone in facing budget shortfalls. Public agencies throughout California and the nation have been struggling to preserve programs and jobs during the economic downturn that continues to grip the nation.
"There is no denying that times are difficult and the challenges are great," Mitchell added. "But those challenges also offer us opportunities. I express my great appreciation to our faculty and staff for going 'above and beyond' in supporting our students and serving our community."
One bit of good news is that CSUB will receive $1,738,400 of one-time stimulus funds allocated by the CSU Chancellor's Office for adding critically needed courses and sections in fall 2010 to assist students in progressing toward completion of their degrees.
For more information:Kathy Miller
Media ContactColleen Dillaway, Director of Public Affairs & Communications