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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.
California Gov. Jerry Brown reveals his May budget revise, Monday, May 14, 2012.
The revised state budget Gov. Jerry Brown released Monday does not include any major new cuts to public schools, in spite of recent projections that California’s deficit has ballooned. That news offers little consolation to the state’s 1,000 public school districts.
Welfare and social service programs will bear the brunt of the cuts. Gov. Brown said public schools are the big winners in his revised budget projections.
Louis Freedberg, executive director of the education think tank EdSource, said districts were waiting for that headline.
“When they heard the news that the budget deficit had escalated by several billion dollars I think school districts were preparing for even more bad news," he said. "At the same time, the problem is that school districts are already facing a pretty grim fall."
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission has approved a lease agreement with the University of Southern California.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission has approved a lease agreement with the University of Southern California, giving USC long-term control of day-to-day operations at the historic stadium and neighboring Sports Arena.
City News Service says the board voted 8-to-1 Monday with L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks casting the lone dissenting vote.
Under the agreement, the commission continues to oversee both buildings but USC will control day-to-day operations, including scheduling of events and possible naming rights negotiations.
The lease with USC has an initial term of 20 years, with five renewal options that could extend it to 2054.
The lease includes a provision that allows the temporary use of the Coliseum by an NFL team if necessary.
Gerald P. Hawkins/Flickr
The outside of CSU Sacramento. CSU students had been protesting against being hit with tuition hikes while top university administrators received salary increases.
A dozen students from several California State University campuses have ended a hunger strike after nine days. The students had been protesting against being hit with tuition hikes while top university administrators received salary increases.
After eight days of subsisting on water and juice, 22-year-old David Inga said he was completely out of it for the last 24 hours of the hunger strike.
"I just couldn’t function," said Inga. "I was pretty much like a vegetable."
Inga is a graduate student at Cal State Fullerton. He’s one of a dozen students, all members of a group called Students for Quality Education, who had pledged to fast until Cal State Chancellor Charles Reed agreed to stop tuition increases and limit the size of compensation packages for campus presidents and administrators.
Karla Leyva, flashing a USC "fight on" sign, will be the first in her family to graduate from USC. Along the way to that achievement, she decided — a year after her high school graduation, a semester into community college, and while the wounds of 9/11 were still raw — to enlist in the Army.
At the University of Southern California today 14,000 people receive their graduate and undergraduate degrees, and 174 of them will get diplomas after serving in the U.S. military.
Karla Leyva is one of them. She remembers the mad scramble to pick up her cap, gown and tassel at the USC bookstore a few weeks ago.
“It stayed in the bag for about a day,” she said. But when she removed it, memories tumbled out, too.
“The fact that, you know, it’s been five years in the making of my degree for me," she says. "To come to this point where all my hard work paying off is just such a rewarding feeling."
It’s been ten years since Leyva, the daughter of immigrants from Jalisco, Mexico, graduated from Gardena High School. She’ll be the first in her family to graduate from college. Along the way to that achievement, she decided — a year after her high school graduation, a semester into community college, and while the wounds of 9/11 were still raw — to enlist in the Army.
“I learned a lot about myself," Leyva says of her time in the Army. "I matured as an independent woman, learned to really appreciate the little things that I had taken for granted before."
Like her family’s support for her enlistment and her mother’s home cooking.
Leyva served four years in a unit that supplied U.S. military operations in Iraq with items from paper clips to military vehicles. But she was never far from combat.
“Our first deployment we received a lot of mortar attacks on base,” Leyva recalls. "So that was stressful."
During watch duty in a tower on her base, Iraqi men, women and children passed by. Leyva recalls seeing a little girl who couldn’t have been more than seven years old.
“She was in charge of walking the two skinny cows they had and a herd of sheep, along with her little sibling, little brother, that was about three,” she said.
That made her grateful for a childhood that allowed her to be a kid, without the turmoil that surrounded this girl.
When Leyva returned home, she enrolled at Cerritos College to resume her studies. There she met military combat veterans who had trouble adapting to civilian life.