Endorsement: Vote yes on Measure LA to invest in community colleges and universities
Editor’s note: This vote has been requested by the California State Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Michael Rubio.
In the wake of the economic collapse of the 2008 recession, California’s community colleges and state universities face a growing and difficult task: to make up the difference for funding cuts and increased demands on their already over-burdened educational programs and resources. As a result, these institutions are required to make significant cuts in state appropriations for their core programs (which includes student support).
Yet this has resulted in California’s public higher education institutions facing a serious funding crisis. By 2023, Governor Brown’s budget will only meet approximately $4.35 billion of the state’s $51 billion school appropriations. The University of California is facing a near-fraudulent $1 billion budget deficit, which comes despite the fact that it has been the largest recipient of state appropriations. Over 30 campuses are on an emergency operating budget, and many institutions will soon face insolvency if current spending patterns continue.
In addition, the state’s two largest colleges, the University of California and Cal State-Sacramento, face a $700 million deficit for the next five years due to the closure and merger of their respective nursing and medical-education programs. The state is spending $1.3 billion more per year than it takes in to maintain the UC and Cal State campuses.
Last week, my colleagues in the Senate Education Committee approved a resolution to provide $3.5 billion in new annual funding to help our community colleges and universities make up for these budget cuts. As a result, we are sending the Governor today legislation making it easier for our institutions to make these cuts without having to raise taxes or cut other important programs. The legislation, which will be voted on today in the Senate, would create a $5.8 billion investment in community colleges and universities in the form of a new state grant program.
While this measure has been approved by the Senate Higher Education Committee — our most powerful