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Cal State trustees hear grim budget news, seek other solutions

March 20, 2012 |  6:45 pm

The California State University Board of Trustees received a grim report Tuesday on how the system might deal with the possibility of more state funding cuts, including slashing enrollment, losing thousands of faculty and staff positions and eliminating academic and athletic programs.

All of those measures are possible, officials said, if a tax measure on the November ballot fails, and the system is faced with a $200-million cut that would occur in the middle of the 2012-13 academic year.

Cal State already plans to freeze most enrollment for the spring 2013 semester and wait-list all applicants for the following fall term. Officials estimate that 20,000 to 25,000 eligible students could be turned away.

In addition, campuses will limit the number of courses students can take, with a maximum of 15 to 17 credits each term except for graduating seniors.

But the system's 23 campuses also may be forced to cut low-enrollment programs and degrees and lay off about 3,000 staff, said Benjamin F. Quillian, executive vice chancellor and chief financial officer, at the trustees meeting in Long Beach.

"Let there be no mistake about it, we can't continue to nibble around the edges," Quillian said.

Trustees asked Chancellor Charles Reed to devise alternatives to deep enrollment cuts, even while acknowledging there is little appetite for more tuition increases.

"I understand we have no choices, but the decision-makers in Sacramento need to understand what we're doing here," trustee Roberta Achtenberg said. "By proceeding in this way, we're dashing the hopes and economic viability of communities that will feel the impact of this for decades to come."

Meanwhile, trustees asked Reed to devise alternatives to deep enrollment cuts, even while acknowledging that there is little appetite for more tuition increases.

Also Tuesday, the full Board of Trustees voted 11 to 3 to approve 10% pay increases for the new presidents at the Fullerton and East Bay campuses. Voting no were trustees Margaret G. Fortune, Steven M. Glazer and Melinda Guzman.

--Carla Rivera