Cal State report card on higher-ed votes angers many lawmakers
Administrators at the California State University system have poked a stick in a hornet's nest by putting out their first-of-its-kind report card indicating how much support state legislators gave priority bills on higher education.
The report card was sent out by the office of retiring Chancellor Charles B. Reed and quickly had the Twitter-sphere buzzing about what some saw as a bold last move as he heads for the door. Others thought it was inappropriate and misleading.
The report card gave "F" grades to 20 Assembly members and five state senators, all of them Republican. Senators receiving an "F'' were Joel Anderson of San Diego, Tom Berryhill of Modesto, Mimi Walters of Laguna Niguel, Bob Huff of Diamond Bar and Doug La Malfa of Richvale.
It graded lawmakers on their handling of 24 bills CSU supported or opposed during the 2011-12 session, including some directly affecting the university system's funding. Other measures it supported provide scholarships to illegal immigrants and would have plugged a corporate tax loophole to increase student aid.
"The intent of the legislative scorecard is to inform the public on lawmakers' support of the CSU and public higher education,'' the report card explained in an introduction, adding that the university "holds the state's elected officials accountable to support the CSU in achieving its mission and goals."
Senate Republicans said the scorecard left out key votes on the budget and was not a proper use of taxpayer resources. "The main objection is they are a state agency and they should be focusing on getting students to graduate from college,'' said Hector Barajas, spokesman for the Senate Republican caucus. "To spend all this time and effort on a scorecard seems a bit absurd.''
The scorecard was also blasted by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who was given a "D'' grade after he authored a measure, opposed by CSU, that would have limited pay raises for university administrators within two years of student fee increases.
"Rather than fighting for students and faculty, the CSU administration used taxpayer funds to fight for themselves and their fellow top executives,'' Yee said. "The chancellor's report card is a sham."
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times