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Budget Forum outlines CSUEB strategy: a mix of furloughs, enrollment and service changes


At the July 22 Budget Forum, Linda Dalton, vice president for Planning, Enrollment Management, and Student Affairs, discusses CSUEB's budget strategy including making more programs self-supporting. (Photo: Barry Zepel)

  • July 23, 2009

In the fourth in a series of budget forums for the Cal State East Bay community, President Mo Qayoumi and university leaders Wednesday (July 22) discussed decisions made at a CSU Board of Trustees meeting the previous day, steps planned at CSUEB and a few forecasts for the university.

“We know the budget we have currently is going to present a tough situation for everyone,” said Qayoumi to a standing room-only gathering in the Valley Business and Technology Center. “The only way we can succeed in this environment is to work together.”

In his approximately 30-year academic career, Qayoumi said he’s weathered three prior budget crises, but none rivals the “magnitude and severity” of the unprecedented $584 million deficit facing the 23-campus California State University system.

“The $584 million is equal to a lack of funding for 95,000 students throughout the CSU system, so you can see the immensity of the problem we’re looking at,” Qayoumi said.

As part of a four-pronged approach, the CSU trustees voted Tuesday (July 21) to raise student fees starting fall quarter. Students who are state residents will see a 20 percent increase in fees; in addition, non-residents' fees will increase by an extra 10 percent.

CSU trustees also agreed to reduce student enrollment by 40,000 over the next two years; approved changes to state regulations that will allow twice a month furloughs for management and non-represented employees beginning Aug. 1; and will look to operations changes to trim an additional $183 million from 2009-2010 budgets.

Qayoumi reminded forum attendees that $275 million of the CSU deficit will be addressed through furloughs and, in the case of the union representing the trades, layoffs, as outlined in the union’s contract and agreed to by its members. Decisions are pending for two unions. The California Faculty Association, representing 23,000 employees, is polling members about their preference for furloughs or layoffs. CSU is negotiating with the Academic Professionals of California about their choice.

The Chancellor’s Office has requested a decision from all unions by Tuesday (July 28).

Higher education throughout the state, at the CSU and at Cal State East Bay will become smaller for the foreseeable future, Qayoumi said.

“Education needs are growing, but unfortunately we’re going to see education impacted,” he said.

While enrollment growth throughout the CSU and at CSUEB has been strong in recent years, the budget crisis has compelled campuses to maintain enrollment of in-state students at levels that do not exceed state funding rates.

For 2009-2010, Cal State East Bay’s target will be 11,764 students who are state residents. In anticipation of an additional 9.5 percent budget cut in 2010-2011, in-state enrollment is anticipated to drop to 10,647.

In keeping with CSUEB’s commitment to making strategic budget decisions, university leaders also are exploring innovative approaches. For instance, Qayoumi is leading a CSU initiative considering whether campuses in proximity to one another –– such as CSU East Bay, San Francisco and San Jose –– may consolidate some services and resources, while eliminating duplicative tasks and processes.

On Cal State East Bay campuses, emphasis also will be placed on increasing “self-support programs” that pay for themselves. The purpose would be to continue offering educational opportunities while preserving jobs, explained Linda Dalton, vice president of Planning, Enrollment Management, and Student Affairs.

Chief Financial Officer Shawn Bibb, vice president for Administration and Finance, concluded the forum with a review of the budget history and how the university is reducing costs. In 2009-2010, he said, CSUEB has experienced a $24 million budget reduction or approximately a 17 percent decrease.

“We’re going to be smaller,” he said. “We’re going to have 1,400 students fewer than we had last year.”

He said the management structure of the university also will become flatter as vacant management positions go unfilled.

During a question-and-answer session, in which participants for the first time submitted questions on index cards, it was clear that questions related to furloughs are on the minds of employees.

Bibb explained that many specifics related to furloughs will not be known until each union makes a decision on the issue.

“There is some latitude to how the furlough calendar will be applied,” he said. “We hope to have that out next week.”

Qayoumi pledged to keep faculty and staff members informed as the budget process continues.

Some employees who lingered after the forum said they’re ready to learn in detail how furloughs will work, including, for example, how they will be implemented for those who don’t work a typical daytime shift or who work an irregular schedule such as in the library.

“We want the nitty-gritty of what’s happening,” said Natalie Granera, an administrative assistant in the Department of Psychology, who has worked for CSUEB for 10 years.

Valerie Taniguchi, a 28-year-employee, said not all her questions have been answered, but she applauded the fact that several budget forums have been held.

“As a campus, we can at least appreciate that our president is fostering communication with employees,” she said. “That hasn’t always happened.”

Share comments and suggestions with President Qayoumi.

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