So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

UC Riverside Chancellor Timothy White chosen to lead 23-campus California State University system

Timothy White

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Timothy White

After four years as head of U.C. Riverside, Timothy White is leaving that job to become chancellor of the massive California State University system. Cal State made the announcement Thursday after it completed final interviews earlier this week.

White becomes the seventh chancellor of the Cal State system. He’ll take over the nation’s largest university system amid major budget cuts, tuition increases, and reductions in courses and enrollment that have affected the system’s 427,000 students.

“I actually feel very humbled, very honored, very grateful but also very prepared in order to go forward,” White said in a conference call announcing his appointment.

Exiting Cal State chancellor Charles Reed praised White’s selection. “I am really pleased and proud that the board has selected somebody that really understands the California State University mission,” Reed said.


Cal State trustees allow outside input in chancellor selection process

Ari Lynn Day/Flickr

A sky view of Cal State Fullerton. Cal State trustees announced a list of institutional stake-holders who will participate in the final chancellor interviews next week.

California State University trustees are trying something new as they approach the final stage of hiring a new university chancellor.

On Tuesday, trustees announced a list of institutional stake-holders who will participate in the final candidate interviews next week.

The group includes Cal State Fullerton President Mildred Garcia and Cal State L.A. President Jim Rosser, CSU professors Diana Guerin and James Postma, former trustee Herb Carter, Cal State San Bernardino student David Allison, alumnus Guy Heson and CSU Long Beach staffer Vonetta Augustine.

Cal State spokeswoman Claudia Keith said the university received dozens of online suggestions for the hiring of a new chancellor. “This was in response to some of those requests for additional folks to be in an advisory capacity to our board as they make their decision,” she said.

The California Faculty Association bashed the chancellor hiring process, saying it was shutting out external input in the chancellor selection process. Spokeswoman Keith said the creation of the external advisory group was not a response to the association’s criticism. Keith wouldn’t say how many people are finalists to run the 427,000-student university system.


Cal State administrators accused of crossing line in Prop. 30 advocacy


Members of the California Faculty Association at a protest last year. The California State University trustees want to warn students that enrollment and other cuts are likely if voters do not approve an education tax increase on November's ballot.

People fired off a lot of gun analogies at the California State University board of trustees meeting on Tuesday.

Cal State system chancellor Charles Reed told members of CSU’s finance committee that the university needs to raise undergraduate tuition by 5% in case Proposition 30 – a tax increase for education measure – fails at the polls in November.

“There is an automatic trigger and nobody has to do anything. It gets pulled midnight November 6th. The Department of Finance will notify the CSU that we will need to cut our budget an additional $250 million,” Reed said.

To dodge that bullet, Reed said, the university needs to raise revenue with tuition increases.

“I figure, if they can have a trigger, we can have a trigger.”

If Prop. 30 wins, Cal State roll back a nine percent tuition increase that hundreds of thousands of students have had to pay starting this semester. But the 15 Cal State Trustees and the presidents of the 23 campuses - a ready force of high caliber campaign workers – must adhere to limits on how strongly they can advocate for the ballot measure.


Cal State faculty finally strike a deal in 2-year contract negotiations

After two and a half years of litigious negotiations, protests and a strike vote, faculty at the 23 Cal State campuses overwhelmingly approved a new contract with the university system.

Union members didn’t gain much – the 1% across-the-board salary increase they’d asked for was a no-go. But they did manage to stave off even more cuts.

Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association, said it was imperative for future negotiations not to concede too much in this round.

“Not being in a hole is a real victory,” Taiz said and added, “We got some small things for our members…Really important elements.” 

Those elements included preventing wage cuts for summer school and extension course faculty, and securing 3-year contracts for part-time lecturer faculty. That’ll provide some job security for more than half the teaching staff at Cal State campuses.


California's revised budget: Public higher education faces continued budget crunch

Gov. Jerry Brown

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during a news conference on May 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Brown proposes $8.3 billion cuts in California to help close a projected $16 billion budget shortfall.

It’s time to hold your nose and take a hard swallow. As Governor Jerry Brown disclosed the latest revised budget for the state, he said it’s time for Californians to take their medicine. The projected budget deficit has hit almost $16 billion, far greater than officials anticipated just five months ago.

That'll mean some "painful cuts" for the state's higher education institutions. 

That is unless voters pass a tax initiative intended to maintain the state’s public school budget at its present level. That still keeps California’s higher education spending well below Kentucky’s, Mississippi’s, and West Virginia’s.
If the tax ballot measure fails, the University of California and California State systems would each receive $250 million less than they did this year. That’s $50 million more in cuts than projected back in January.

Lars Walton, a vice chancellor at UC Irvine, said the cuts project a bleak future ahead for the UC system alongside with administrative cuts it’s already made.

"We’ve laid off, system wide, 4,400 employees," says Walton. "Eliminated close to 4,000 positions, deferred academic hiring, cut academic programs, and certainly that has pulled back the university as far as we can go. So there’s little that we can do anymore in terms of wiggle room on the edges."

The Cal State system also operates on the fiscal edge. At Cal State Long Beach, the school faces a deficit of about $34 million according to President King Alexander.

"That’s equivalent to us basically closing the entire College of Business and the entire College of Engineering," he said. 

In preparation for more reductions, Alexander said all 23 Cal State campuses have already closed enrollment for the Spring 2013 semester. That means Cal state schools won’t admit any transfer students mid-year. The system’s also considering waitlisting the entire incoming class for the 2013 Fall semester.

The situation is just as dire at community colleges. Jonathan Lightman is executive director of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges. He hopes that the potential consequences of state budget cuts will move voters in November.