Reports from the Standing Committees
|This Month's Issue|
|Message from the ASCSU Chair|
|Report on the ASCSU 50th Anniversary|
|Reports from Standing Committees|
|An Update on the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA)|
|Report from the Faculty Trustee|
Fiscal and Governmental Affairs Committee
Praveen Soni (Long Beach), Chair
The Fiscal and Governmental Affairs (FGA) Committee met via teleconference with Judy Heiman from the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) and engaged in productive dialogue. The topics covered Cal Grants, State University Grants (SUGs), 120/180-unit limit, Senate Bill 440, tuition freezes, competency based exams for online courses, and the LAO’s analysis of the Governor’s proposed budget for 2013-14. The LAO is concerned about unallocated increases in the CSU budget without clear expectations on accountability and outcomes, and also believes that the state should continue to be responsible for CSU capital expenditures and debt service and not move it to the CSU as the Governor has proposed.
FGA also heard from Andy Merrifield of the CFA regarding CFA’s legislative agenda. Among other legislative items, the CFA will be supporting substitution of absent ex-officio members at the CSU Board of Trustees meetings. The CFA also will be vigorously opposing the shifting of healthcare costs from the CSU to the employees, because other state agencies where employees contribute more towards their healthcare costs obtain regular annual salary increases of 2.65% to over 5% to offset those costs. Earlier in the year, the ASCSU also strongly opposed the shifting of healthcare costs to employees (AS-3094-12/FGA). The faculty have not had an increase in their salary for the last five years and had a furlough reduction of 10% during one year.
FGA also met via teleconference with Karen Yelverton Zamarripa of CSU Advocacy and State Relations in Sacramento who apprised the committee about the various legislative bills that will be considered by the CSU Board of Trustees meeting next week, and accordingly prioritized. She provided some indication of bills that the CSU is likely to support and oppose.
Tom Krabacher (Sacramento) provided FGA with a report listing the legislative bills introduced this session that deal with CSU and issues relevant to the faculty. There are several bills dealing with online education and student tuition. The brief descriptions provided for the bills were useful to FGA in its discussion of each bill and in categorization of action on each bill based on the following categories – support, oppose, oppose unless amended, watch, and no action.
FGA worked on improving three second reading resolutions. These were CSU Action on Sustainability, recommending campuses sign the American and University President’s Climate Commitment; Opposing AB 67 and SB 58 regarding tuition and fee freezes at the CSU for the next four years; and a Task Force to Study CSU Tuition Fees and Financial Aid Support including State University Grants.
The Committee also developed two first reading resolutions, one each on AB 386 and AB 387, both of which deal with online courses. Tom Krabacher represented the FGA and worked with senators from other ASCSU committees to develop a first reading waiver resolution on SB 520 – The California Open Education Resources Council. Given the developing language on SB 520, the ASCSU requested that Executive Committee take appropriate action on SB 520. Executive Committee wrote a letter opposing SB 520 unless amended on behalf of the ASCSU on April 4, 2013. The Committee decided that it would be premature to write a resolution on the proposed New University of California since it was still evolving.
Talking points and logistics of the ASCSU April 9 Advocacy Day in Sacramento were determined. The talking points dealt with budget, online education, tuition freezes, and shifting of healthcare costs to employees, and are likely to continue to evolve. The ASCSU Brochure, which provides facts about the CSU, has already been updated, approved, and sent for printing.
Finally, George Ashkar of the Chancellor’s Office provided spreadsheets comparing CSU actual financial statements showing sources and uses of funds for the university and its auxiliaries for the last five years (2008-2012). George was not available to meet with the committee in March, but will be meeting with the FGA in May to discuss the statements, obtain feedback, and answer questions.