University discusses allocations for potential funding

Next year will be the first time in five years that Cal State Long Beach expects to have money left over in the budget to distribute after funding classes is taken care of, according to Vice President for the Department of Administration and Finance Mary Stephens.

Exactly where that money will go, however, remains to be seen.

“The only thing that we have funded over the last five years – and sometimes we had to take money off the top, which meant we cut other things – was if we had an increase in the number of students, an increase in enrollment,” Stephens said. “Then we, in fact, do give … just under $2,000. I think it’s $1,990 per new head count to [the Department of] Academic Affairs to fund classes.”

The campus expects to have a little more than $4 million in additional state funds to distribute, according to David Dowell, vice provost for budget and planning.

“The campus budget planning process is underway,” Dowell said via email. “The four university divisions will each request portions of the funds. We don’t yet have a spending plan.”

The four university divisions include the Department of Administration and Finance, the Department of Academic Affairs, the Department of Student Services and the Department of University Relations and Development.

The Cal State University system budget remains preliminary until Gov. Jerry Brown releases the May revision of the proposed state budget on May 10, according to Stephens.

Brown’s 2013-14 proposed budget seeks $125.1 million in additional state funding for the CSU. It also looks to reinstate the $125 million that was cut from last year’s budget and was due to be reimbursed with voters’ approval of Proposition 30.

“We’re all still somewhat sitting on pins and needles, and so we are just starting initial discussions, haven’t made any decisions yet,” Stephens said. “That’s why we have [the campus budget planning process] that will recommend to the president, ‘If you have this money or if you have any money, this is how it should be distributed.'”

The preliminary state budget often changes as tax revenue either coincide with or contradict revenue projections made six months ago, according to Stephens. This year’s budget projections have also been affected by sequestration, or automatic federal spending cuts, according to Stephens.

If things are going well on the state and federal level, the May budget revision can increase above projected levels. If not, the state may have less money to distribute, according to Stephens.

Stephens said she has been told tax revenue, which funds the CSU, are looking promising.

“We’re hoping that … because of Proposition 30 the governor says, ‘Well, I can’t cut higher education because everybody is now paying more taxes to support education,'” Stephens said.

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