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Cal State trustees say needs far exceed state funding

California Governor Jerry Brown said other funding priorities may thwart Cal State funding requests.
California Governor Jerry Brown said other funding priorities may thwart Cal State funding requests.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

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Jockeying for next year’s state funding is already picking up speed - at least in the California State University system, where trustees on Tuesday told the governor that the proposed budget increases for next year aren't nearly enough.

"The cost of doing business is just going up. We are down in resources, we are down in people," said Cal Stat Chancellor Tim White.

Cal State administrators said they need extra money to keep up with enrollment, building maintenance, and other demands.  They debated requesting an extra $335 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year - bringing the budget up to $4.4 billion. That's more than double the $142 million increase Gov. Jerry Brown currently plans to give the university in the fiscal year beginning next July.

In an unusual occurrence, Brown was there to respond. He attended the meeting as the trustees' ex-oficio president. He said he showed up to start the budget dialogue early, for his and Cal State administrators’ benefit.

"There’s a whole bunch of other people asking for more money," Brown told the trustees. "In fact one of them happens to be the federal judiciary, who’s threatened to hold me in contempt of court if I don’t reduce the prison capacity."
Cal State’s budget chief, Robert Turnage, said the 23 campus university system should have a place near the front of the budget waiting line.

"We are a very critical piece of California’s social ecology and unlike many programs in state government, what we are able to do for Californians in this university, in a very powerful way builds towards the future," he said.
Frustration among some of Cal State’s 44,000 employees over this year's raise also bubbled over at the meeting.

"We cannot be happy and content with a 1.34 percent increase to our salaries when inflation is expected to be 2 percent in California this year and again next year," Mary Kay Statham-Doyle, president of Academic Professionals of California, the university counselors union, said during public comment.

Labor unions representing campus police and graduate students joined in. Jeff Solomon, President of the Statewide University Police Officers Association, said campus police cannot retain good officers at this rate.

"We're 37 percent behind what the U.C. police officers make," he said.