Reports from the Standing Committees
|This Month's Issue|
|Message from the ASCSU Chair|
|A Report from the Faculty Trustee|
|Reports from Standing Committees|
Fiscal and Governmental Affairs Committee (FGA)
Praveen Soni (Long Beach), Chair
For the second year in a row, our committee reviewed the CSU General Fund Financial Statements for the last five years showing details of revenues and costs under the guidance of Mr. Sedong John of the Chancellor’s Office of Finance. Similar statements on auxiliaries will be made available to the committee for our May meeting when we’ll delve more deeply into the data.
Karen Yelverton-Zamarripa of the Office of Advocacy provided an update on various legislative bills related to the CSU, which were then to be prioritized at the meeting of the Board of Trustees. The faculty trustee legislation is moving along in the legislature; that bill would allow the current faculty trustee, upon completion of his/her term, to continue in place for up to two years if the Governor fails to make an appointment.
Ryan Storm, also of the Chancellor’s Office, provided an update on the budget. All eyes are on the May revise. There is a push now by multiple stakeholders of the CSU to try to secure the shortfall of $95 million—certainly a tiny percentage of the expected increase in state revenues. (The ASCSU has been actively advocating for this augmentation, in particular during lobby day in April.) Storm also apprised the committee of some legislators’ serious concerns about substantial increases in campus-based fees. They believe this to be an end-run around the agreement between the Governor and the CSU to hold tuition/fees constant for four years while the Governor and legislature augment the CSU budget.
Andy Merrifield of the California Faculty Association (CFA) updated the committee on the CFA’s positions on individual bills, reported that collective bargaining is ongoing, and that the CFA will be pushing for the maximum augmentation to the CSU budget at the Capitol.
The legislative session in Sacramento moves quickly from March through June when bills are introduced and amended before being voted on. Traditionally, the ASCSU has waited until its May plenary to take positions on relevant bills; in contrast, this year, in order to voice an earlier opinion on such legislation, our committee researched about 30 bills, obtained input and feedback from senators, and developed recommended positions which were voted on during the March plenary. Such an approval of an omnibus resolution will allow the ASCSU leadership and our committee to communicate more effectively with legislators as the bills go forward. Our recommended positions were based upon the Legislative Principles and Guidelines approved by the ASCSU in Fall 2013. (See related item in Capitol Watch.)
Plans for the advocacy day in Sacramento (April 22) were made during this March meeting. It was decided to target leadership of the California Senate and Assembly as well as the education, higher education, and budget committees and subcommittees of the two chambers. Visits to the Governor’s Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst’s Office were also included in our advocacy day plans. The ASCSU brochure distributed during these meetings includes information about retention and graduation rates as well as CSU actions to decrease time to graduation.