Letters to the Governor

December 18, 2015

Dear Governor Brown,

CC: Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor, State of California; Toni Atkins, Speaker, California State Assembly; Anthony Rendon, Speaker-designate, California State Assembly; Shirley Weber, Chair, California State Assembly Committee on Budget; Kevin de León, President Pro Tempore, California State Senate; Mark Leno, Chair, California State Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review; Brice Harris, Chancellor, CCC; Janet Napolitano, President, UC; Timothy White, Chancellor, CSU

Reclaim Higher Education of California, a coalition of stakeholders committed to the reaffirmation of California’s Master Plan for Higher Education, writes you to advocate for the prioritization of enrollment growth for California’s three public systems of higher education. We are the students, staff, faculty, and public interest groups – of California Community Colleges, California State University, and the University of California – representing more than two million constituents.

We call upon you to draft a Budget for 2016-17 that provides adequate funding to enable all three public institutions of higher education to expand their enrollment, without increasing the financial burden on individual students and their families. The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) predicts a shortage of 1.1 million bachelor or higher degree graduates in California by 2030. (Johnson, Hans; Marisol Cuellar Mejia; and Bohn, Sarah. October 2015. “Will California Run Out of College Graduates?” San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California. Page 8.) The future of California’s position as an economic powerhouse is dependent on fulfilling this critical need. The ability to enroll more students at California’s three public systems of higher education is inadequate to meet demand due to funding shortfalls. Building requisite enrollment to support California’s prosperity will require a long-term financial commitment to the expansion of public higher education.

While the loss to the State of California is significant, think also of the thousands of individuals who have missed out on pursuing their dreams and educational opportunities. To that end, we must acknowledge that depressed communities are more immediately affected by tuition and other cost increases, due to fewer individual and family resources that allow for time away from work to pursue an advanced degree.

Undoubtedly, the recession has posed great fiscal challenges to the state, but higher education remains one of our state’s best tools for economic recovery and sustainability, and it should remain a top budgetary priority. The state’s funding of higher education remains below pre-recession levels. As a result, enrollment in all three systems is well below what it ought to be. In order to keep pace with the increasing population of qualified high school graduates, the UC should have enrolled a total of 55,000 more students over the past six years than it has; the CSU should have enrolled an additional 141,000 students; and the CCC should have enrolled over 2 million additional students. (Wilson, Stacy; Newell, Mallory; and Fuller. Ryan. June 2010. “Ready or Not, Here They Come.” Sacramento: California Postsecondary Education Commission. Report 10-08.) Cumulatively, the state has granted 650,000 fewer bachelors or higher degrees since 2010 than it ought to have. Investment in increased enrollment growth would put California back on track to produce the number of degree holders California’s economy demands.

In what follows, we offer specific proposals to support enrollment growth and the restoration of accessible and quality education at each of the three systems of higher education.

A UC Growth Proposal

UC has recently proposed a budget that would increase enrollment by 5,000 students next year, with an additional 2,500 students enrolled over each of the following two years, bringing the total increase to 10,000 students. The state should fully fund this proposal at the average expenditure of $18,900 per student (University of California. November 2015. “Summary of the Budget Request: Budget for Current Operations 2016-17.” Oakland: University of California. Page 18.), building to an ongoing annual contribution of $189 million at the end of the multi-year enrollment program - on top of the four percent annual increase already committed to. Note that the funding the state offered for the first year’s enrollment growth was only half of what is needed to fund these seats. The UC has had to find money elsewhere in its budget to cover the gap – money that could have been used to restore the targeted student-faculty ratio, close the 10% compensation gap between UC and its peers, attack some of the backlog of deferred maintenance, build dormitories, and the list of needs goes on.

While we strongly support increased enrollment to the UCs, the California legislature should additionally address the housing crisis that students are already facing. Housing prices have a significant impact on the ability of a student to afford and complete a UC education. Housing prices have increased at staggering rates in areas surrounding UC campuses because the increasing demand for housing has far outpaced the growth in supply. For example, this has led housing costs in Santa Cruz to increase by 24% over the last four years (Castillo, Brandon. May 26, 2015. “New Santa Cruz rules aim to ease housing crisis.” Salinas: KION News Channel 5. http://www.kionrightnow.com/news/local-news/new-santa-cruz-rules-aimto- ease-housing-crisis/33232946). Students are priced out of campus housing and the lack of local availability leaves them stranded. Many students are unable to afford housing or would rather forgo the security of a home than graduate with exorbitant debt. In the long-term, campus housing opportunities need to be expanded, and immediate relief must be offered to those who need it most.

In conjunction with enrollment growth, the quality of a UC education must be maintained with adequate funding to hire additional faculty and graduate students as well as to meet other increased operational costs. Over the last decade, the student to faculty ratio has steadily increased, which reduces the individual attention each student receives.

Sufficient funding and financial aid must be provided to offset the impact enrollment growth has on quality and affordability to ensure sustainable growth of the UC.

A CSU Growth Proposal

CSU has recently proposed a budget that would increase enrollment by three percent. The state of California is better served when this institution is able to grow to support its enrollment demand. As we’re well into the state’s economic recovery, it’s important that we make vital investments in the CSU system – the largest and most diverse university system in the country.

While we agree with the CSU system’s request for additional funding, above the multi-year compact plan, we would like to add funding to enroll 8,000 more students. This would put the CSU in alignment with previous growth projections. We propose – at $10,285 per student – to increase the CSU’s additional budget request by $82.3 million, bringing their additional request up to $184.6 million. The additional funds would go toward supporting the required infrastructure and hiring of staff and faculty required to handle the increase enrollment goal, across the entire CSU system. This proposed operating budget would bring annual revenue of the CSU to $5.46 billion, which includes student tuition revenues (net of financial aid).

It is clear that CSU plays a critical role in preparing the workforce of California, as it grants more than one-half of the state’s bachelor’s degrees and one-third of the state’s master’s degrees. Our state’s future is directly linked to the ability of the CSU to educate California residents, because more than 50 percent of California’s teachers are CSU graduates.

A CCC Growth Proposal

For 2014-15, the CCCs were funded for 2.75 percent growth ($140.4 million), and for 3 percent growth ($156.5 million) in 2015-16, but despite the 130,000 additional students this funding supports, system enrollment has still not caught up to pre-recession projections. The CCC system budget request for 2016-17 includes $175 million for an additional 70,000 students, another growth augmentation of about 3 percent. Due to the frustration students experienced with severe course reductions and fee increases during the recession years and now the lure of employment options in areas where the economy is reviving, not all community college districts are growing.

However, the growth allocation model guarantees that funding goes to the districts that can benefit the most. Further, the system recently revised this model to target growth dollars to areas with the neediest student populations.

In addition to growth, the state must also ensure instructional quality with funding for additional full-time faculty, including counselors and librarians, together with funding to enhance the professionalization of part-time faculty in support of the system's Student Success Initiative. To this end, the 2016-17 CCC budget request includes $80 million for full-time faculty positions and restoration of the part-time faculty categorical programs: office hours, benefits, and compensation equity. CCC students are an extremely diverse group, ranging from recent high school graduates to middle age returning or first-time enrollees. They also need financial assistance to meet the high cost of textbooks, housing, and in many cases, support of their families while they attend classes.

Summary

The increased costs and lack of available slots at institutions in all three systems of higher education has dampened California high school graduates and other potential students interest in seeking the education and training that will provide them with opportunities to more fully develop their economic and social potential. This decrease in enrollees is reflective of ethnic and racial, social, and economic inequality. Depressed communities are more immediately affected by tuition and other cost increases, because they have fewer individual and family resources to support time away from work to pursue higher education opportunities.

To encourage interest and create opportunity, we additionally request that the state be more directive in how this enrollment growth and other funding is invested:

  1. A $30 million multi-year grant for augmented enrollment outreach efforts on the part of each of California’s three higher education systems, for a total of $90 million.
  2. Immediate addition of class offerings and support staff to accommodate the additional students. Admission to the institution is not a guarantee of an education. These students cannot linger on wait lists for years, hoping to get the classes they need to graduate.
  3. Immediate hiring of faculty and ending the exploitation of contingent instructors of all kinds. Hiring of new faculty should emphasize the conversion of adjunct faculty to tenure track faculty. More students cannot be admitted without instructors for the additional classes. At the same time, the state must provide additional support to adjunct faculty and graduate student instructors, including pay and benefits parity and office hours funding, so they can be truly supportive of student success.
  4. Immediate housing relief for students who are attempting to find living situations near their educational institutions where rates are exorbitant. A market-rate housing stipend should be provided to each student living outside their familial home.

As the 2016-17 budget cycle begins, we acknowledge the recent attention given to the issue and look forward to working closely with you to re-prioritize higher education in the State of California.

Sincerely,

  • AFSCME UAPD – Stuart Bussey, President
  • CCCI – Richard Hansen, President
  • Courage Campaign - Eddie Kurtz, Executive Director
  • CPFA – John Martin, Chair
  • CSUEU – Pat Gantt, President
  • CUCFA – Joe Kiskis, VP for External Relations
  • Teamsters 2010 – Jason Rabinowitz, Secretary-Treasurer/Principal Officer
  • Student Senate for California Community Colleges – Dahlia Salem, President
  • UAW 2865 – Robert Cavooris, President
  • UAW 5810 – Anke Schennink, President
  • UC-AFT – Robert Samuels, President
  • University of California Student Association – Kevin Sabos, President
  • UPTE-CWA 9119 – Jelger Kalmijn, President

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June 2, 2015

Dear Governor Brown:                                                                                                                     

CC: Toni Atkins, Speaker, California State Assembly • Kevin de Léon, Pro Tem, California State Senate • Mark Leno, Chair, Senate Budget Committee • Shirley Weber, Chair, Assembly Budget Committee • Brice Harris, Chancellor, CCC • Janet Napolitano, President, UC • Timothy White, Chancellor, CSU

The California Master Plan for Higher Education created an international model for public higher education, as is stated in your May Revise. We agree, but we believe that your May Revise could exacerbate the escalating crisis in higher education, a “Master Plan train wreck” in which the trains carrying students through the California Community Colleges derail at the California State University and University of California systems. This disaster could be averted by following your substantial increase in community college resources with complementary investment in the four year institutions. In this 2015-2016 budget cycle, which features far more revenues than were originally projected, we call upon you to reaffirm the State of California’s commitment to the Master Plan in its entirety: accessible, affordable, quality, public Higher Education. As key stakeholders representing over three million students, staff and faculty throughout the State’s three higher education systems (the California Community Colleges, the California State University and the University of California) we urge you to prevent the “Master Plan train wreck” and fully restore resources to all three systems.

ACCESSIBLE: California will need at least one million more graduates by 2025 to remain economically competitive, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. This requires implementation of a vision addressing systemic problems plaguing California’s ailing public colleges and universities, starting with increased state investment. For example, as you have heard multiple times since January 2015, the CSU needs $100 million in increased funding beyond what you allocated in January to meet its access requirements under the Master Plan. The additional $38 million given in your May Revise only allows for some 4,000 students to be enrolled, a projected 6,000 students who have the right to be there under the Master Plan will be turned away from CSU’s doors if the final budget does not include the necessary $62 million more.

AFFORDABLE: Since President Napolitano announced her plans to raise UC undergraduate tuition by 28 percent within the next five years, we have been united in opposition. The solution to UC funding is restoring state support, not tuition increases or cuts in workers’ pensions. UC Unionized workers’ contracts already took major concessions in their pensions last year in exchange for maintaining a single tier pension. The average worker is paying two percent more into their pension to keep the benefits the same for future generations. By taking the wage-cut-for-intact-pension deals, UC workers did meet the required budgetary goal that UC had set for us. Demanding that the pension be split into two tiers now, or even worse, converted to a defined contribution plan, is in bad faith and we reject it. UC students’ tuition should be frozen, but the balance should not be placed on the backs of workers; our faculty and staff will remain united in this. 

QUALITY: In the May Revise we were pleased to see funding placed in the Community College budgets for converting part-time faculty to full-time. Smaller class sizes and greater instructional support are key components to quality public education, and full time faculty play an important role in this regard for all three education systems. In addition, we urge you to abandon the idea that online education is the panacea to state disinvestment. We feel that we are encountering a “Master Plan train wreck,” when funding was not provided to CSU and the UC systems for the same goal. Faculty teaching conditions are students’ learning conditions, and this is true across all three systems.  

We support the following guidelines for the 2015-16 budget:

For the California Community Colleges, we thank you, Governor, for the support you have shown thus far for student services, full time faculty, and the much needed additional base funding. We still advocate that funding should be directed to specific components of student success. These include office hours, health benefits, and equal pay for equal work for part-time faculty, otherwise known as “parity,” together with professional development of faculty, staff, and administrators.

For the California State University, we thank you, Governor, for the $25 million in one-time funds for deferred maintenance, and the $38 million you have proposed in your May Revise above the $125 million included in your January budget. The CSU still needs $62 million in additional funding to support the enrollment of 6,000 more in-state residents that will provide greater access to the CSU system, to hire more faculty for added classes, and to hire more instructional support staff to serve those students.

For the University of California, no tuition increases under any circumstances. We believe that the $119 million you supplied in your May Revise should be increased by at least $50 million. This additional funding should be tied to support undergraduate enrollment targets of an additional 5,000 in-state residents, more student aid to defray the real cost of attending a UC, smaller class sizes, and resources to recruit and retain quality faculty and staff.

            We welcome your recognition of the state obligation to fund UC pensions and the funds you have provided for that. However, we do not agree that UC should make additional changes to the structure of the retirement system, such as the creation of an additional tier in exchange for the state’s contribution. We especially oppose language in the revised budget that requires the creation of a defined contribution only option. 

Instead of attacking employees’ pensions there should be limits placed on executive compensation, an end to lobbying and funding that opposes Research Assistant collective bargaining rights, no outsourcing of vital services that can be done at a lower cost in-house, and curbing poverty rates in California for sub-contracted workers, mostly immigrants and people of color.           

We look forward to working closely with you in once again prioritizing higher education within the State of California.

Sincerely,

  • AFSCME UAPD – Stuart Bussey, President
  • CCCI – Richard Hansen, President
  • Courage Campaign - Eddie Kurtz, Executive Director
  • CPFA – John Martin, Chair
  • CSUEU – Pat Gantt, President
  • CUCFA – Joe Kiskis, VP for External Relations
  • Members of Luther Burbank High School – Law and Social Justice Academy
  • Teamsters 2010 – Jason Rabinowitz, Secretary-Treasurer/Principal Officer
  • SSCCC – Omar Paz, President
  • UAW 2865 – Mar Velez, President
  • UAW 4123 – Emily Beals, President
  • UAW 5810 – Anke Schennink, President
  • UC-AFT – Robert Samuels, President
  • UPTE-CWA 9119 – Jelger Kalmijn, President

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March 5, 2015

Dear Governor Brown:                                                                                                                    

CC: Toni Atkins, Speaker, California State Assembly • Kevin de Léon, Pro Tem, California State Senate • Brice Harris,

Chancellor, CCC • Janet Napolitano, President, UC • Timothy White, Chancellor, CSU

The escalating crisis in higher education requires a reaffirmation of the State of California’s commitment to The Master Plan for Higher Education. As key stakeholders representing well over 4 million students, staff and faculty throughout the State’s three higher education systems – the California Community Colleges, California State University and the University of California – we urge you to restore adequate state funding to higher education.

As a result of deep budget cuts in recent years, the Master Plan for Higher Education is in jeopardy. Tuition and administrative costs are skyrocketing while enrollment of in-state students is not keeping pace with the needs of our economy. Our institutions of higher learning should, once again, be an engine of economic growth and good jobs in our communities. We will need at least 1 million more graduates by 2025 to remain economically competitive, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

Now is the time to implement a vision that can address the systemic problems plaguing California’s ailing public colleges and universities. This includes increased state investment, as well as making institutional reforms that promote greater access, affordability, instructional quality, and internal accountability. Broadly, this consists of:

  1. Increasing enrollment to meet the needs of Californians
  2. No tuition increases that exacerbate the student debt crisis, which includes reining in executive compensation
  3. Fair pay and benefits for the hundreds of thousands of workers who make the institutions work
  4. Smaller class sizes and greater instructional support, which includes abandoning the idea that online education is the panacea to state disinvestment
  5. Ceasing the outsourcing of vital services

We support the following guidelines for the 2015-16 budget cycle above the augmentations to our institutions’ base budgets:

For the California Community Colleges, we thank you, Governor, for the support you have shown thus far for student services, and the much needed additional $125 million in base funding. We still advocate that funding should be directed to specific components of student success. These include the conversion of part-time faculty positions to full-time, compensation for part-time faculty office hours, the provision of health benefits for part-time faculty, and equal pay for equal work for part-time faculty, otherwise known as “parity.” We also support the system request for $25 million for professional development of faculty, staff, and administrators.

For California State University, we thank you, Governor, for the $25 million in one-time funds for deferred maintenance. We still need $100 million in additional funding to support the enrollment of 10,000 more in-state residents that will provide greater access to the CSU system, to hire more faculty for added classes, and more instructional support staff to serve those students.

For University of California, no tuition increases. In addition we need, $150 million to support undergraduate enrollment targets of 5,000 in-state residents; more student aid to defray the real cost of attending a UC; smaller class sizes; and resources to recruit and retain quality faculty and staff.

This increased $150 million in funding should be tied to reasonable accountability measures consistent with UC’s mission and values, such as limits on executive compensation; an end to lobbying and funding that opposes Research Assistant collective bargaining rights; no outsourcing of vital services that can be done at a lower cost in-house; and curbing poverty rates in California for sub-contracted workers, mostly immigrants and people of color.

Finally, we request that the discussions between the “Committee of Two” around pre-funding of retiree health benefits reflect the commitment that the State, the University, and UC employees will bear that responsibility, not employees alone.           

As the 2015-16 budget cycle continues, we look forward to working closely with you so that we can once again prioritize higher education within the State of California.

Sincerely,

  • AFSCME 3299 - Kathryn Lybarger, President
  • AFSCME UAPD – Stuart Bussey, President
  • CCCI – Richard Hansen, President
  • Courage Campaign - Eddie Kurtz, Executive Director
  • CFA – Lillian Taiz, President
  • CPFA – John Martin, Chair
  • CSUEU – Pat Gantt, President
  • CUCFA – Joe Kiskis, VP for External Relations
  • Teamsters 2010 – Jason Rabinowitz, Secretary-Treasurer/Principal Officer
  • SSCCC – Omar Paz, President
  • UAW 2865 – Mar Velez, President
  • UAW 4123 – Richard Anderson, President
  • UAW 5810 – Neal Sweeney, President
  • UC-AFT – Robert Samuels, President
  • UCSA – Jefferson Kuoch-Seng, President
  • UPTE-CWA 9119 – Jelger Kalmijn, President

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Dear Governor Brown:                                                                                                                    12/15/2014

CC: Toni Atkins, Speaker, California State Assembly • Kevin de Léon, Pro Tem, California State Senate • Brice Harris,

Chancellor, CCC • Janet Napolitano, President, UC •Timothy White, Chancellor, CSU

 

The escalating crisis in higher education requires a reaffirmation of the State of California’s commitment to the Master Plan for Higher Education. As key stakeholders representing well over 2 million students, staff and faculty throughout the State’s three higher education systems — California Community Colleges, California State University and the University of California — we are ready to work with your office, the State Legislature and university administrators to address this crisis.

 

The Master Plan is in jeopardy. Tuition and administrative costs are skyrocketing while enrollment of in-state students is not keeping pace with the needs of our economy. The Public Policy Institute of California maintains the state will need at least 1 million more graduates by 2025 to remain economically competitive. Unfortunately, our institutions sorely lack both state support and accountability measures to meet these needs.

 

Now is the time to implement a vision that can address the systemic problems plaguing California’s ailing public colleges and universities, as well as ensure that these institutions will continue to generate middle-class jobs throughout the State of California. This includes increased state investment, as well as making institutional reforms that promote greater access, affordability, instructional quality, and internal accountability. Broadly, this consists of increasing enrollment to meet the needs of Californians; no tuition increases that exacerbate the student debt crisis; smaller class sizes and greater instructional support; reining in executive compensation; ceasing outsourcing of vital services; and abandoning the idea that online education is the panacea to state disinvestment.

 

We support the following guidelines for the 2015-16 budget cycle above the anticipated augmentations to our institutions’ base budgets:

For California Community Colleges, the consensus proposal among constituency groups for additional funding to ensure students receive proper institutional support: $100 million for converting faculty to full-time and extending part-time faculty office hours together with $25 million for professional development of faculty, staff and administrators.

 

For California State University, $127 million in additional funding to support the enrollment of 10,000 more in-state residents that will provide greater access to the CSU system, the hiring of much needed faculty to increase quality by decreasing class sizes, and more instructional support staff to serve those students.

 

For University of California, funding to stop tuition increases and support undergraduate enrollment targets of 5,000 additional in-state residents, more student aid to defray the real cost of attending a UC, smaller class sizes, resources to recruit and retain quality faculty and staff, an end to lobbying and funding to oppose Research Assistant collective bargaining rights, and no outsourcing of vital services since bringing services in-house will decrease UC’s existing administrative costs and increase quality overall.

 

As the 2015-16 budget cycle begins, we look forward to working closely with you so that we can re-prioritize once again higher education within the State of California.

 

• AFSCME 3299 — Kathryn Lybarger, President

• AFSCME UAPD — Stuart Bussey, President

• CCCI — Richard Hansen, President

• CFA — Lillian Taiz, President

• CSU-EU — Pat Gantt, President

• CUCFA — Joe Kiskis, VP for External Relations

• Teamsters 2010 — Jason Rabinowitz, Exec Director

• UAW 2865 — Michelle Glowa, President

• UAW 4123 — Richard Anderson, President

• UAW 5810 — Neal Sweeney, President

• UC-AFT — Robert Samuels, President

• UCSA — Jefferson Kuoch-Seng, President

• UPTE-CWA 9119 — Jelger Kalmijn, President


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