Proposed $500 million cut is ‘tough,’ Mitchell says

CSUB President, Dr. Horace Mitchell
CSUB President, Dr. Horace Mitchell, gives a live videocast in response to the proposed $500 million cut to the CSU system's budget on Jan. 11, 2011.

California State University, Bakersfield can expect a $6 to $8 million – roughly 18 percent – reduction to our campus budget for the 2011-12 academic year, President Horace Mitchell announced this morning as he addressed the campus community via live Webcast regarding the state budget proposal unveiled yesterday by Gov. Jerry Brown. The proposal cuts $500 million from the California State University system, $500 million from the University of California system, and $400 million from the state’s Community College system.

“We are at a point now where all of the gimmicks and all of the one-time solutions are gone and now we have to deal as a state with what’s the income, what are the expenditures, and how do we bring the expenditures in line with the resources and what are the priorities for the state,” Mitchell said.

Those one-time solutions included tax increases that are ending in June, federal stimulus funds and the sale of state-owned buildings.

The $500 million reduction is nearly as hard of a hit as the $600 million reduction enacted in 2008-09. The CSU responded to that reduction with student fee increases, staff and faculty furloughs and enrollment freezes.

Mitchell did not lay out any specific actions for the 2011-12 budget, saying he will know more details after the CSU Board of Trustees meets on Jan. 25-26. However he did say, “essentially the chancellor has said that most issues that we looked at during ‘08-‘09 will have to be back on the table in terms of how we get through such a massive reduction as this.”

Mitchell pointed out that the governor’s proposed budget does not affect the current academic year, and so we are safe from mid-year budget reductions.

“That’s good news on one hand,” he said. “But on the other hand it means that since 2011-12 will be much worse, we are obligated pretty much to save as much as we can during ‘10-‘11 to buffer the reductions we will be taking in ‘11-’12.”

Mitchell said he will be speaking to the Academic Senate this Thursday and will hold a Campus Budget Forum, as he did with the last major budget reduction, after the Board of Trustees meets and more details are announced.

In closing, Mitchell wished the campus community a happy new year despite the tough start.

“I think that working together as we’ve always done, we will make sure that the campus is served, that our community is served, and that our students are served. And so I look forward to our continuing partnerships to make sure we achieve the excellence that we talk about in our vision for the university,” he said.

Watch the full Webcast video here: rtsp://

– Jennifer Baldwin, CSUB Public Affairs Coordinator