There are times when we can look back and consider times in history when directions were taken that had major impact, changing lives and impacting futures. In California, we are facing just such a time right now: decisions made in the next few months will make a difference in the lives of our children and their children, ultimately impacting the quality of life that is uniquely Californian.
Our state’s public education system has been the envy of the world during previous decades, providing access to students that extended beyond high school to collegiate education. This system of access was the primary cause of our state’s phenomenal growth in every sector. Unfortunately, as state funding has diminished, so have the promises to our young people. An individual’s career growth is most often tied to education, especially beyond the high school years. Already state and national predictions are that colleges will not be able to produce the number of college graduates needed in key sectors, particularly in business, finance, engineering, healthcare and education.
In recent years California public education has been caught in the crosshairs of state budget reductions, with these cuts hitting California State University (CSU) campuses especially hard. For CSULB, recent cuts just in the last 18 months have translated to a 27 percent reduction in funding for our current academic year. Governor Jerry Brown has proposed tax initiatives that he believes will help California move toward more financial stability. Should the tax measures fail, CSULB would take a funding reduction of about $23 million, effective January 2013.
You may have heard reports that CSU campuses are considering measures that would, in effect, limit access to many academically qualified students. At the same time that we are told more degree holders are necessary to the economic growth of our state and nation, we may be put into the deeply unfortunate circumstance where we will determine how to best educate our students with the decreasing funding we have. To compromise the quality of a CSULB education is not an option. Investment funding is the bottom line to how many students we can serve, how many programs we can offer, how many faculty and staff we can have to meet student needs.
Please join me in taking this important message to our legislators: our future depends on the quality of education we provide. To limit university access to deserving students through a steady reduction of state funding translates to a loss for all of us.
Thank you for your continuing support of CSULB.
F. King Alexander