Governor Jerry Brown announced May budget revisions today that added $38 million in funding for the Long Beach-headquartered California State University (CSU) system, boosted community college funding by $600 million and provided $5 million in funding for application assistance for undocumented immigrants statewide.
Local officials responded to the news with measured enthusiasm.
“The Governor’s announcement of additional funding for community colleges is welcomed and we are cautiously optimistic,” said Long Beach City College (LBCC) President Eloy Ortiz Oakley in a statement. “Although we don’t know the exact amount that LBCC will receive, we hope to use these additional funds for support services that will increase student success while remaining fiscally responsible in our long-term planning.”
According to a release issued today, the state’s proposed January budget enabled LBCC to spend $3.6 million in hiring 27 new faculty members and three new staff members. They currently plan on increasing the workload of 44 staff members that were previously reduced because of the recession.
Oakley said he applauded the governor in “recognizing that we need to reduce the amount of time students take to achieve their educational goals and focus on getting them through our higher education system more quickly.”
CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said in a statement that the governor’s revisions “acknowledge” the mission the CSU serves in California. When combined with January’s budget, the additional $38 million in funding makes for a total of $158 million in new funds for the CSU system.
“The May Revision supports existing CSU priorities by expanding student enrollments and programs that increase degree completion,” White said. “The governor’s proposal is an important step towards reinvestment in a well-educated California citizenry and knowledge-based economy.”
Brown said in a statement that he set aside additional funds for schools and the Rainy Day Fund to guard against a future recession.
“Another recession is on the way – we just don’t know when,” Brown said. “That’s why this budget locks billions into the Rainy Day Fund and pays down debt. At the same time, this budget spends more than ever on schools and creates a new tax credit to help California’s working poor.”
State Senator Ricardo Lara said Brown’s additional funding was a good start, but more needs to be done to help undocumented immigrants.
“I applaud Governor Brown for proposing $5 million in funding to provide application assistance for undocumented Californians eligible for deferred action under the President’s executive actions,” Lara said. “This funding is a good start, but falls short of what is necessary to adequately help over a million eligible immigrants further integrate into the fabric of our communities and economy.”