Double agony

This week we entered the “update and adjust” (known as the May revise) part of the budget cycle—and it’s no surprise to find California’s higher-education leaders facing their own worst fears. Thanks to the intransigence of state GOP legislators, an already cut-to-the-bone budget for community colleges, California State University and the University of California may go into double agony.

Yes, we’re talking about the dreaded all-cuts budget.

Gov. Jerry Brown already signed legislation that cut $1.4 billion from higher education in the state—and that was plenty. But now despite Brown’s revise, we may be looking at even steeper cuts and cutbacks, elimination of academic programs at all levels, and, in the case of the UC system, admitting more out-of-state and international students for the sole purpose of collecting higher tuition payments.

The state’s community-college chancellor reports that his schools will likely turn away close to half a million students if the all-cuts budget comes to pass. For the CSU system, an all-cuts approach will mean turning away 20,000 students and raising tuition by a whopping 32 percent.

“If the governor gets the tax and revenue extensions, none of this would be necessary,” said CSU Chancellor Charles Reed.

Right. This isn’t Gov. Brown’s fault, people. Lay the blame where it belongs: firmly on the shoulders of the state’s Republican leaders who, in obdurate block formation, have managed to take the state and its institutions of higher learning hostage, literally, by disallowing Brown’s reasonable solutions for fixing the state’s budget crisis.