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Brown’s budget bolsters education

By | January 23, 2013 | Front page

Gov. Brown’s proposal for the 2013-2014 budget includes $250 million for higher education.

Half of this proposed funding will offset the money dismissed from higher education in last year’s state budget.

As vice president of external affairs for Fresno State’s Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), Sean Kiernan acts as the university’s student representative to the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees. He considers the governor’s proposal a strong antidote for the university’s current woes.

Governor Jerry Brown addressed local media in Fresno last October about Proposition 30. Brown's proposal incorporates Prop. 30 reimbursement

Governor Jerry Brown addressed local media in Fresno last October about Proposition 30. Brown’s proposal incorporates Prop. 30 reimbursement.
Photo by Roe Borunda / The Collegian

“This budget proposal is certainly a step in the right direction, but only a step. We’re still heavily underfunded, and this is beginning to make it better,” Kiernan said.

According to a Jan. 10 press release from the CSU Public Affairs Office, the governor’s proposed budget will put CSU funding at $2.2 billion dollars.  Initially, the CSU called upon the governor and the legislature for a $371.9 million increase to the university’s baseline budget. This same press release stated that the baseline is made up of fees and tuition from all CSU campuses, coupled with state funding.

Matt Shupe, chief of staff for the California College Republicans and Fresno State senior, disagrees with such assertions about the budget proposal and the funding promised by the passage of Proposition 30.

“There have been a lot of articles that have come out about this. A lot of that money is going toward reinvesting in technology, toward paying staff, toward pensions and also paying into the online education. It seems to me a lot of the money is going into areas other than tuition.” Shupe said. “This is not the fix to the problem. They passed seven years in taxes to guarantee one year of tuition stability.”

The budget proposal has found acceptance amongst CSU administration.  Chancellor Timothy P. White acknowledged Brown’s efforts to fund higher education through this proposal.

“The CSU has certainly been challenged over the past several years with the drop in state support due to the state’s lingering recession. However, with finances more stable in the near term now that Proposition 30 has passed, we are cautiously optimistic that the CSU’s budget will begin to turn around. We look forward to working with the governor and legislature during the upcoming budget hearings,” White said in the press release.

Recent passage of Proposition 30 is thought to be the driving force behind the CSU’s approval of the Brown budget.

Education employees and student organization are applauding Brown, believing his efforts to be the pre-emptive strike for increased education funding.

Lillian Taiz, President of the California Faculty Association (CFA), is a history professor at California State University, Los Angeles. In a CFA press release she stated the organization’s favor of the proposed budget.

“This budget proposal is the first step in restoring a prosperous future for California,” Taiz said. “This much-needed influx of funding is a direct result of the thousands of hours members put in—alongside other education advocates—to support the passage of Proposition 30.”

Taiz went further saying the CFA will be working with the CSU chancellor to increase funding, though the faculty organization and the Chancellor’s office do have differing opinions in regards to other policy proposals.

Another employee organization, the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), issued a statement on Jan. 10 saying it welcomes the funding guaranteed in Brown’s proposal.  The CFT represents educators from both K-12 education, as well as community colleges and public universities.

Fresno State ASI President Arthur Montejano believes the proposal, and the Proposition 30 funding, are positive impacts to the university system’s finances. He said the legislature’s final approved budget should not place any-more financial burden on CSU students and faculty.

“It will be interesting to see what the legislation ultimately shapes up and what it passes,” Montejano said.

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