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

CSU elects new president for Cal State San Bernardino


Dr. Tomás D. Morales

Cal State University trustees have hired a Latino college president from the East Coast to head Cal State San Bernardino.

Tomás Morales led the College of Staten Island for five years, but he’s no stranger to Southern California. Earlier in his career Morales held a number of positions at Cal Poly Pomona, including Vice President for Student Affairs. 

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York, he holds degrees in history and educational administration.

His appointment comes amid heightened scrutiny of big salaries paid to CSU presidents as student tuitions are on the rise. San Diego State hired a new chief last summer at a salary that’s about 35 percent greater than the outgoing president.

Earlier this week, CSU trustees voted to cap salaries for incoming presidents at no more than 10 percent greater than their predecessors.


Study: When times get tough, college is still worth it

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Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

CSU Dominguez Hills students graduate.

When times get tough, that investment in higher education can be even more valuable, according to a new study released today by UC Berkeley.

That was just one finding in a study entitled "California's Economic Payoff: Investing in College Access & Completion," which strove to answer two key questions: "What are the benefits of investing in higher education? And is it worth it for Californians?

The answers? Many. And yes.

Researchers at UC Berkeley's Institute for the Study of Societal Issues found that for every $1 California invests in students who go to college, the state will receive a net return of $4.50 on its investment. For those who complete college, the return is $4.80 and for those who enter, but drop out the return is $2.40.

A college degree often translated into higher earnings for the graduate, and therefore higher income taxes paid to the state; additionally, the state saved money on its payout on social services and incarceration costs for these graduates.


Students 'hope and pray' they get their classes as community colleges cut

Michael Juliano/KPCC

Students fill the Distance Education Conference Room to hear advice from representatives of El Camino College's transfer programs. Slashed course sections because of budget cuts have made it harder for students to get classes they need to transfer out.

Robert Dewitz, 22, is a fourth year student at El Camino College, a two-year public community college in Torrance.

He planned to transfer into a Cal State University school for fall 2011, but couldn't get into a physics course that would have given him his final credit. Then, after an application error and a missed deadline, he lost his chance to transfer out this fall.

In March, CSU officials announced plans to freeze the majority of spring 2013 enrollment. And so it goes.

"This is supposed to be a two-year college, Dewitz said, "and unfortunately it’s difficult for students to get out in three or four years sometimes, because they can’t get the courses they need."

This is the reality at many community colleges across the state. As budgets have been slashed and course sections cut, fewer students are able to get into classes they need to transfer out. And students have had to put off their education plans.


Both sides of CSU dispute agree to return to the bargaining table

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

Faculty at Cal State Dominguez Hills walked off the job today to pressure the university to grant them a .25 percent pay raise. The strike is part of a one day strike at two campuses organized by the system-wide union that represents faculty at 23 campuses.

Two days into a strike vote that could delay the opening of all 23 Cal State University campuses this fall, the system’s chancellor and the faculty union announced they’re ready to try talking again.

Call it a break, not a break-up. In a decision that surprised some leaders of the faculty association, the union’s bargaining committee and the chancellor’s office have agreed to resume negotiation talks early next month.

David Bradfield is vice president of the union. He says he’s glad to hear the news but he isn’t entirely optimistic.

"There’s a difference between coming to the table and coming to the bargaining table," said Bradfield.

That’s why the union is moving forward with its strike vote plans.

"It doesn’t change the vote whatsoever," he says.

Professors, coaches and librarians have until a week from Friday to authorize a two-day rolling strike if both sides fail to reach an agreement.


How did we get here? California taxes and education funding

Tax Preparers Help Last-Minute Filers As Tax Deadline Looms

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A pedestrian walks by an H & R Block office on April 15, 2011 in San Francisco.

With Los Angeles voters facing a parcel tax to raise money for schools, and the governor's initiative to raise sales tax and taxes on higher-income earners this November to avoid cutting $5.2 billion in education funding, some people have wondered what exactly happens to their regular annual taxes.

You know, the ones due today.

People have asked me what the state does with their money. Especially since California has the highest statewide sales tax rate and one of the highest income tax rates in the country. How is it possible that the state is 47th in the nation on per-pupil spending when so much of that money is supposed to go to education?

I spoke with H.D. Palmer, the deputy director for the California Department of Finance today who tried to explain how we got here.

"What happened was the recession," Palmer said. "That's the short-form version of it."