CSU Board of Trustees Postpones Meeting
Proposed fee hike will be decided after election
October 22, 2006 5:08 PM
The California State University Board of Trustees postponed its October meeting to discuss the 2007-2008 budget and possible fee increases of up to 10 percent so they can await the results of the upcoming gubernatorial election.
Now some of California’s top Democrats have said the postponement may be a political ploy to protect the governor’s record on fee increases.
The meeting, which is typically held every year in late October, has been moved from Oct. 26 to the week after the election. Discussion of fee increases has been moved to January.
In a letter to inquire why the meeting was canceled, Speaker of the California Assembly Fabian Núñez stated that postponing the meeting violated longstanding practice to meet a recommended Nov. 1 deadline by the State Department of Finance and that voters have a right to know about fee increases before the Nov. 7 election.
“The people of California deserve to have all the issues put in front of them in advance of an election,” Núñez said. “A significant increase in student fees at the CSU is certainly an issue of public policy that ought to be put before voters.”
“It would be highly disturbing to discover that the trustees, a number of whom are appointees of the current administration, or CSU executives, allowed election politics to impact the timing of action on the proposed CSU budget.”
Board Chair Roberta Achtenberg said in a letter released Tuesday, “This year is not the first time the Board has not held an October meeting.”
“In those years, as this year, the basic parameters of the budget request were not controversial and were discussed thoroughly at the September board meeting.”
Paul Browning, a spokesman for the CSU Chancellor’s office, said part of the board’s reasoning was Angelides’ and Schwarzenegger’s “different philosophies on how to fund higher education."
While Browning said the rescheduling was a normal thing to do, he also said the postponement of meetings to await election results has never happened before.
“When push came to shove, he stripped money from the classroom, raised tuition and fees, and loaded future generations with billions in debt.”
H.D. Palmer, the governor’s chief spokesman on budget and fiscal issues, dismissed allegations that the governor may have any influence on the board’s choice to postpone the meeting.
“We don’t, in any way, shape or form control the board,” Palmer said. “The change in timing and schedule was their decision and theirs alone.”
Board Chair Achtenberg defended the decision by saying, “The Board agreed with the Chancellor that any consideration of a fee action be postponed until January to allow discussions with the Governor – whoever is in office.”
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