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Governor releases budget for education

Complying with the 2004 Higher Education Compact agreement, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently released the 2007-2008 budget, which proposes an additional increase of $2 million to support math and science and a student fee increase of $252.

The CSU system will be getting a total of $4.4 billion in total funding this year.

According to the California Department of Finance Web site, the additional $2 million toward science and math will work to support the shortage of highly-trained teachers by establishing three regional recruitment centers and expanding campus programs relative to those fields.

“That $2 million will be managed by the Chancellor’s Office,” said Ted Kadowaki, assistant vice president of budget planning and administration. “That kind of money is what we call an ‘earmark,’ since it’s allocated for math and science. That’s exactly where it will go.”

The student fee increase may not exceed $252 this year systemwide, but it still has to be approved by the trustees, Kadowaki said. Once approved, the increase will take effect in the fall of 2007.

The budget agreement will help further address and overcome what was experienced in the earlier part of the decade, while providing additional help for enrollment growth, Cal State Long Beach President F. King Alexander said.

Robert Mena, chairman of the department of mathematics and statistics, recalls in 1992 when, due to extensive budget cuts, the department was only able to provide 10 sections of Math 114 for its students – nearly 20 fewer classes compared to the amount offered this semester. Due to pre-planning, the university has done a good job in avoiding regression the last few years, Mena said.

The Higher Education Compact is due to stay active from 2005-06 through 2010-11, making 2007-08 the third consecutive year of its effect. According to the agreement, Gov. Schwarzenegger is committed to address base budget allocations, enrollment, student fees and other key program elements, while UCs and CSUs address long-term accountability goals for enrollment, student fees, financial aid and program quality.

According to the California Department of Finance Web site, this year’s budget calls for a total additional amount of $270.6 million. This includes the increase of $108.7 million for the basic budget support, which is money received from the state of California, and an increase of $65.5 million for enrollment growth compared to the 2006-07 budget proposal.

The agreement does give the system some predictability that allocates to better budget planning. However, there are risks, Kadowaki said. He said the risks are that the governor is assuming the revenue will increase and stay consistent.

Furthermore, Kadowaki said the governor is assuming he could transfer some costs that are currently on the state general fund to another fund so that more state general funds are available. If these things don’t “pan out,” the fund and compact could be cut, Kadowaki said.

“We are grateful the governor is honoring that agreement, and he has for the last few years,” Kadowaki said. “There is always that outside chance that the state budget doesn’t turn out the way he is predicting [and] we could be cut just as much as other agencies could be cut.”

For more information, go to www.edbudget.ca.gov.

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