Speaker Pérez, Legislators and Education Leaders Convene for Education Summit
April 20, 2011
California State University, San Bernardino President Albert Karnig was one of several education leaders from across the Inland Empire who joined California State Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and legislators in Rialto yesterday for the first in a series of statewide education budget summits.
Assembly Democrats convened the meeting aimed at ensuring passage of a timely budget and to discuss the harm additional cuts to education would cause to the state. The governor's 2011-12 budget cuts $500 million in funding for the CSU, which will lower the system's state support to 1999-2000 levels despite the CSU serving 70,000 more students.
Without additional state revenues, the budget reduction to the CSU could approach $1 billion. In that case, the CSU would have to consider drastic measures including closing of admissions, fewer course sections, tuition increases, elimination of programs and services, and workforce reductions.
The CSU is one of the few public institutions that can help grow the state's economy and a cut of such magnitude could have long-term ramifications on California.
“We’re facing a crucial situation that will affect not only us, but future generations of Californians, as well, said Karnig. "The damage to the Inland Empire is apt to be far greater than elsewhere, because our region has among the lowest percentage of college graduates in the nation – a leading reason why the Ontario-Riverside-San Bernardino metropolitan area has the greatest unemployment rate of any U.S. metropolitan area over 100,000. Given the profound importance of higher education to the success of our children and grandchildren, as well as to the long-term success of California and our region, we need to remain vigilant in sustaining higher education as a high priority for elected officials."