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California public higher education union coalition letter to Gov. Brown

Pasted below is the text of a union coalition letter that was sent today, December 15, 2014, to Governor Brown and other state leaders, as well as the leaders of the three higher ed systems.

Dear Governor Brown:

The escalating crisis in higher education requires a reaffirmation of  the State of California’s commitment to the Master Plan for Higher  Education. As key stakeholders representing well over 2 million  students, staff and faculty throughout the State’s three higher  education systems — California Community Colleges, California State  University and the University of California — we are ready to work with  your office, the State Legislature and university administrators to  address this crisis.

The Master Plan is in jeopardy. Tuition and administrative costs are skyrocketing while enrollment of in-state students is not keeping pace with the needs of our economy. The Public Policy Institute of California maintains the state will need at least 1 million more graduates by 2025 to remain economically competitive. Unfortunately, our institutions sorely lack both state support and accountability measures to meet these needs.

Now is the time to implement a vision that can address the systemic problems plaguing California’s ailing public colleges and universities, as well as ensure that these institutions will continue to generate middle-class jobs throughout the State of California. This includes increased state investment, as well as making institutional reforms that promote greater access, affordability, instructional quality, and internal accountability. Broadly, this consists of increasing enrollment to meet the needs of Californians; no tuition increases that exacerbate  the student debt crisis; smaller class sizes and greater instructional support; reining in executive compensation; ceasing outsourcing of vital services; and abandoning the idea that online education is the panacea to state disinvestment.

We support the following guidelines for the 2015-16 budget cycle above the anticipated augmentations to our institutions’ base budgets:

For California Community Colleges, the consensus proposal among constituency groups for additional funding to ensure students receive proper institutional support: $100 million for converting faculty to full-time and extending part-time faculty office hours together with $25 million for professional development of faculty, staff and administrators.

For California State University, $127 million in additional funding to support the enrollment of 10,000 more instate residents that will provide greater access to the CSU system, the hiring of much needed faculty to increase quality by decreasing class sizes, and more instructional support staff to serve those students.

For University of California, funding to stop tuition increases and support undergraduate enrollment targets of 5,000 additional in-state residents, more student aid to defray the real cost of attending a UC, smaller class sizes, resources to recruit and retain quality faculty and staff, an end to lobbying and funding to oppose Research Assistant collective bargaining rights, and no outsourcing of vital services since bringing services in-house will decrease UC’s existing administrative costs and increase quality overall.

As the 2015-16 budget cycle begins, we look forward to working closely with you so that we can re-prioritize once again higher education within the State of California.

• AFSCME 3299 — Kathryn Lybarger, President
• AFSCME UAPD — Stuart Bussey, President
• CCCI — Richard Hansen, President
• CFA — Lillian Taiz, President
• CSU-EU — Pat Gantt, President
• CUCFA — Joe Kiskis, VP for External Relations
• Teamsters 2010 — Jason Rabinowitz, Exec Director
• UAW 2865 — Michelle Glowa, President
• UAW 4123 — Richard Anderson, President
• UAW 5810 — Neal Sweeney, President
• UC-AFT — Robert Samuels, President
• UCSA — Jefferson Kuoch-Seng, President
• UPTE-CWA 9119 — Jelger Kalmijn, President

CC: Toni Atkins, Speaker, California State Assembly
Kevin de Léon, Pro Tem, California State Senate
Brice Harris, Chancellor, CCC
Janet Napolitano, President, UC
Timothy White, Chancellor, CSU

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