Governor's budget ax hovers above California schools 

There’s apparently no bright light at the end of the higher-education funding tunnel.

Under an “all-cuts” budget proposal introduced by Gov. Jerry Brown last week, more than $15.4 billion will be taken from existing services, including health and social services.

For education, it means cutting services.

If the Legislature ultimately opts for the “all-cuts” budget, The California State University and University of California systems will see about $1.1 billion cut. The community college system will lose $585 million and K-12 education will lose $5 billion.

“It means we will not be able to serve as many students,” said Peter Goldstein, vice chancellor for finance and administration for the City College of San Francisco. “We will not be able to offer as many classes and we will not have as much student support services.”

More than 100,000 students attend classes through City College, according to Goldstein. Enrollment would fall by as much as 12,000 students if the worst-case scenario cuts occur.

Goldstein said the worst case for City College would mean $23 million in cuts from its $195 million operating budget.

Community colleges across the state could also increase the cost to attend classes to $60 per unit. The current tuition, set by the state, of $26 per unit had already been scheduled to increase by $10 per unit.

This proposed plan by the governor is considered a “worst-case scenario,” but Brown has said he hopes to work with Republicans on a compromise and hold a special election to extend vehicle and income taxes.

As a result of the cuts, officials have warmed that the UC schools may have to as much as double their tuition from the $12,000 students currently pay to as much as $25,000 to cover the costs to operate.

San Francisco State University — a member of the 23-campus CSU system — would potentially need to increase its fees by 10 percent, according to the budget. San Francisco State students already pay roughly $2,612 in tuition and fees per semester.

Before this worst-case scenario budget was released, San Francisco State was already expecting to cut $25 million. Now there may be more on the chopping block.

University spokeswoman Ellen Griffin said it’s too early to speculate where the cuts would be made if this budget is approved.

“It’s devastating news,” she said. “It will likely require dramatic changes.”

The UC San Francisco medical school will also face cuts, school administrators said.

Though the professional-focused medical curriculum is funded differently than other UC campuses, more than $28 million would need to be cut from the $195 million budget, according to university officials.

The university receives only 6 percent of its operating budget from the state. But that money funds salaries for staff and faculty as well as pays for facilities, according to university officials.

Looming cuts

Cuts to education by the numbers, under the “all-cuts” worst-case scenario budget proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown:

$15.4 billion: Budget shortfall
$5 billion: Cuts to K-12
$585 million: Cuts to community colleges
$1.1 billion: Cuts to universities
10 percent: Fee increases for California State University students

Source: California Legislative Analyst’s Office

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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