Budget takes center stage
The suffering budget stole the spotlight from new President Paul Zingg, as Chico State University’s Academic Senate on Feb. 3 heard an update that was as discouraging as it was expected.
Chico State must cut $7.2 million from its budget to make up its share of a 9-percent reduction the state has placed on the California State University system.
Zingg, who officially started work on Feb. 2, was welcomed with applause at the beginning of the well-attended meeting but held off talking until later in meeting, after Provost Scott McNall, Senator Kathy Kaiser and visiting CSU Academic Senate Chair Robert Cherny had their say.
McNall said that of the $7.2 million Chico State must cut, $4.2 million will come from reducing enrollment by 732 students fewer than next year’s full-time enrollment (FTE) target. (Ten percent of incoming CSU freshman will be shuffled to community colleges.)
Faculty members agreed that the best way to win legislators’ ears is by presenting a united front. Kaiser said this is the first time in a decade that the CSU has agreed to a teachers’ union contract without its going to impasse; it was almost a “lovefest.”
Cherny said that while the CSU always suffers internal differences, “We need to keep them in-house, and we need to sort of lower the volume.”
Zingg said the entire campus will have a role in deciding what to do about the budget, always keeping in mind strategic goals, vision and values. “[We need to] address both the immediate and short-term but at the same time never lose sight of the long-term goals,” he said.
Decisions on the budget will wait, with a CSU “budget summit” tentatively planned for mid-March, but McNall said the numbers are likely to change with the political winds. The governor’s budget, he said, is “an extremely optimistic budget,” because it assumes the $15 billion bond, Proposition 57, will pass even though polls indicate it may not.
“This is as good as it gets," McNall said, "with appropriate credit to Jack Nicholson."