2007/08 Support Budget

Center for California Studies

Center for California Studies, $3,171,000

Teacher and students in a classroomThe Center for California Studies is a unit of the CSU whose mission is to promote understanding of and effective participation in the political and policy processes that govern the state of California. Central to this mission is the administration of the Assembly, Executive, Judicial, and Senate fellows programs and the LegiSchool Project. The fellows programs provide “on the job” experience on the policy-making process to 64 fellows who are studying California government issues at California State University, Sacramento. At the same time, these students provide valuable services to the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of state government. The LegiSchool Project provides high school students a “hands-on” opportunity to participate in legislative debates on issues that directly impact them. The state appropriation request for 2007/08 totals $3.2 million for the following program activities.

Center for California Studies

As an education, research, and public service unit of CSU Sacramento, the Center falls under the administrative responsibilities of the CSU Sacramento president. The Center’s executive director serves at the pleasure of the president and reports to the president and the vice president for academic affairs.

The Center’s central office is located on the campus of CSU Sacramento. The central staff consists of an executive director, four fellow program directors, and a fellows outreach and special project coordinator. The administrative support staff includes a coordinator of administrative services and budget and four administrative support assistants. Typically, the Center also employs two work-study students. The total $1.1 million budget in this category consists of salary, benefits (at 38 percent), and indirect costs (10 percent of total salary and benefits).

Capital Fellows Programs

The Center for California Studies operates as a public education, public service, and applied research office of CSU Sacramento devoted to promoting the understanding of California’s history, cultures, and public policies. As part of its public service responsibilities, the Center administers the nationally renowned Capital Fellows programs. The programs include the California Senate Fellows, the Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellows Program, the Executive Fellows Program, and the Judicial Fellows Program. Through these programs, 64 fellows are selected to spend a year working with California’s legislative, executive, or judicial branches of government. Fellows receive a modest stipend and benefits in exchange for full-time professional work in state government. The fellows are enrolled as graduate students (12 units) at CSU Sacramento and participate in a carefully planned educational program built around their governmental experience.

The four fellows programs provide the legislature, the executive branch, and the state judiciary with individuals that have proven academic and professional achievements, knowledge of California government, and a strong commitment to both public and community service. Fellows serve an 11-month term, providing staff assistance in the state capitol offices of legislators and legislative committees; executive branch agencies, departments, boards, commissions, and constitutional offices; and the Judicial Council, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and consolidated county courts.

The direct costs of the Capital Fellows programs consist of stipends, benefits, and student fees for the 64 fellows. There are also operating expenditures associated with administering the program, calculated at 10 percent.

LegiSchool Project

The LegiSchool Project administered by the Center was developed in 1994 as an educational collaboration between CSU Sacramento and the California state legislature. LegiSchool is an issues-oriented, civics curriculum designed to engage students in discussions about genuine problems facing the state, encourage critical thinking skills, and promote the knowledge necessary for effective citizenship. The mission of LegiSchool is to promote citizenship in schools by creating opportunities for high school students to participate in debates with state leaders concerning the problems affecting California citizens. By focusing on issues that directly impact students, LegiSchool activities and study materials increase students’ interest.

LegiSchool curriculum material consists of a unique tape library and related materials. Each “package” in this library contains videotaped footage of committee hearings, public testimony, and floor debates associated with particular bills recently debated in the legislature, along with articles, press clippings, reports, and editorials on matters related to the bills. Another element of the project is an ongoing series of interactive, televised town hall meetings and press conferences in which state government officials and high school students meet face-to-face to discuss current issues and legislation. These meetings are broadcast live from the state capitol by the California Channel, which enables students and other interested citizens throughout the state to participate in the discussion. Comprehensive study packets are available for classroom use before and after each televised event.

Prior to fiscal year 1999/2000, the California Assembly and Senate provided funding for the LegiSchool Project through interagency agreements with CSU Sacramento. In fiscal year 1999/2000, $125,000 was included in the CSU Sacramento budget for the LegiSchool Project, and in fiscal year 2000/01 funding was transferred to the Center’s budget to cover direct and administrative costs of the project. In 2006/07, the Center requested $125,000 for the LegiSchool Program supplies and services and the salary for the director. However, in the 2007/08 budget year, the director’s salary will be budgeted in the Center for California Studies.

Sacramento Semester Internship Program

The Sacramento Semester Program is an undergraduate internship program at CSU Sacramento, which places students in a variety of state government and legislative internship positions in Sacramento each spring semester. Participants earn six units in internship credit plus six units in an accompanying seminar course in state government and politics, which allows participants to integrate their practical internship experience with academic work. The Sacramento Semester Program is open to students from throughout the CSU as well as other universities. Typically, many alumni of the Sacramento Semester Program apply to a Capital Fellows program once they graduate. Participation in the program has declined in recent years. Again, the data indicate the decline is a function of economics. Most CSU students pay for their education by holding part- or full-time employment. Participating in the Sacramento Semester Program thus demands that students not only move to Sacramento, but also abandon the very jobs that allow them to attend the university. The funding provides financial aid to 15 Sacramento Semester students each year, totaling $3,600 each (i.e., an amount approximating the fees and room and board for one semester at CSU Sacramento). This enables more students of limited economic resources to participate in the Sacramento Semester Program and, in turn, creates a larger pool for Capital Fellows program applicants in the future. Administrative overhead is included and calculated at 15 percent.

Faculty Research Fellows Program

The Center for California Studies also administers the Faculty Research Fellows Program for the assembly, the governor, and the senate offices. Since 1994/95, considerable faculty and staff resources of the CSU have been made accessible to either the executive or legislative branches of California state government through the Faculty Research Fellows Program.

This program provides for directed faculty and staff research such as research papers requested by the legislature and/or executive branch agencies, and organizing and participating in conferences, seminars, symposiums, and similar public services activities.

The direct costs of administering the Faculty Research Fellows Program are grants awarded to the researching faculty or staff. The budget also includes operating expenses to cover the cost of administering the program and publishing research results.

2007/08 Center for California Studies–Budget Plan

The following table is a summary of the Center for California Studies 2007/08 Budget Plan:

Sources of Funds  
2006/07 Baseline Allocation $2,991,000
CSU Sacramento Campus Contribution $25,000
CSU Sacramento/Academic Affairs Permanent Contribution to pay for Academic/Faculty Advisors $65,000
2007/08 Compact Increase $90,000
Total Revenues $3,171,000
Total Available for Allocation $3,171,000
Uses of Funds  
Center for California Studies  
Salaries $741,000
Benefits @ 38% of salary $281,000
Supplies (10% of salaries) $102,000
Capital Fellows Program  
Assembly – Stipend ($1,972 x 18 fellows x 10 months) $355,000
Executive – Stipend ($1,972 x 18 fellows x 10 months) $355,000
Judicial – Stipend ($1,972 x 10 fellows x 10 months) $197,000
Senate – Stipend ($1,972 x 18 fellows x 10 months) $355,000
Benefits @ 23% of Stipend $290,000
Graduate Student Fees @ $1,931/fellow x 64 fellows $124,000
Operating Expenses (10% of direct cost) $168,000
Supplies and Services $55,000
Sacramento Semester  
Sacramento Semester Internship Program $50,000
Faculty Fellows  
Faculty Research Fellows Program $98,000
Total Uses of Funds $3,171,000

Content Contact:
Budget Development
Chris Canfield
(562) 951-4560
Technical Contact:

Last Updated: February 05, 2007