|Revamping the CSU balancing act
by Angela Bacca & Sean Maher
AUGUST 29, 2007 10:23 PM
|“If it bleeds, we can kill it,” said then-actor, now-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in his 1987 movie “Predator.” See, even in 1987 Arnold had wise words on how to manage the budget.
It took over two months to approve the states finances. California was the last state in the nation to approve its budget this year. In the breakdown, about $15 billion is being spent on higher education, with about $4.3 billion going to the California State University. In theory, this could be sufficient funding to run the university every year – the press has generally characterized our budget as “fully funded” – but it in reality it probably won’t work.
Essentially, the problem is less lack of funding than it is the mismanagement of those funds.
Teachers are spread too thin, and students still sometimes sit on the floors instead of at desks, even against the Fire Marshall’s wishes. It’s wonderful that we’ve given faculty the salary boosts they richly deserve, but it’s becoming evident that we have forgotten what the purpose of a university is.
The purpose of a university is to educate those who want an education and prepare them for a more lucrative and fulfilling career. The purpose of a university is not to have catered meetings, regular reconstruction of the campus, and fatty paychecks for lots of high-rankers who do lots of nothing.
So, if it bleeds, let’s kill it. We need to teach these bureaucrats how to balance a checkbook. We need to stop letting the money bleed out to where it doesn’t belong. With all the criticism we can give our alien-killing governor, he definitely is on to something. It is unnecessary to raise taxes (and definitely unnecessary to raise student fees) to make up for a perceived lack of budget. The budget simply needs to be redistributed.
We want a school that can at least try to help us graduate in less than a decade by providing more classes and teachers; we need a school that is easier to get to, with better parking and student transportation services; and we need a school with teachers who aren’t overworked and underpaid.
Instead of focusing time, money, effort, and then some more money on making us the “model urban university,” which includes beefing up a new campus downtown and paying for advertising in the Union Square and SoMa areas, we should focus first on fixing the problems on the main campus. We cannot expand until we have brought the school, as a whole, up to par.
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