More budget cuts, fewer classes next fall
April 22, 2009 8:31 PM
Correction: In the print version of [X]press on April 23, there were two errors in the "More budget cuts, fewer classes next fall" story.
In the story it states "The university has cut 3,422 sections for the fall 2009 semester." It should read "The university will be offering 3,422 sections for the fall 2009 semester."
Also, the story states "The university budget is 1.3 million for the next fiscal year. "It should read "The university budget is about $131 million for the next fiscal year..."
[X]press regrets the errors.
SF State's decreased budget has prompted the school to offer fewer classes and increase fees for the fall, causing students to worry about being unable to pay tuition or graduate on time.
The university will be offering 3,422 sections for the fall 2009 semester, an estimated 81 sections fewer than fall 2008, according to John Kim, associated vice president of academic resources at SF State.
"This reduction is largely due to the fact that the mid-year reduction we faced this year due to the budget shortfall in the State of California did not affect fall 2008," Kim wrote in an e-mail.
Reduction is happening now because the news of the budget shortfall was announced after the fall 2008 schedule was set.
The university budget is about $131 million for the next fiscal year, almost $3 million less than the 2008-09 year, according to the university's office of Academic Affairs.
With the low budget, the CSU Board of Trustees may vote for a 10 percent increase in tuition on May 12 and 13.
Francis Mead -- a member of Student Unity and Power -- feels students are being cheated by downsizing of classes and professors..
"We are paying more for less," the 23-year-old said. "The CSU system once stood for an education that was open to everyone and that reflected our communities."
Freshman Jon Cho, a business major, said he worries about how this is going to affect his parents, who also have to pay for his younger brother's college tuition next year.
"I'm working right now and most of the money is going to my education to help out my parents," Cho said.
Students also say they are worried about whether or not they will get into the classes they need to graduate.
"I wasn't able to get a math class and I almost couldn't get it this semester," said freshman Chris Gonzalez. "It might push back my graduation, which can lead to paying even more [fees]."
But students are not the only ones with worries. Class cuts mean some lecturers will be losing their jobs too.
Ramon Castellblanch, president of the SF State chapter of the California Faculty Association and associated professor of health education, said that there were around 100 fewer lecturers in the fall 2008 compared to fall 2007.
"That's a lot of people to lose their job," Castellblanch said adding that lecturers are in a "tough position" because they could lose their health insurance or their homes.
The College of Science and Engineering will be offering 46 fewer classes than last fall.
"These cuts are a sad consequence of the reduction in budget that SF State has received from the state," said Sheldon Axler, the dean of the college
But according to Dean of the College of Humanities Paul Sherwin, the differences between the cuts for fall 2009 and those made to fall 2008 are not that drastic.
"The scary thing is not this fall," Sherwin said of the many classes that were cut for next semester. "The scary thing is what's going to happen in the spring."
While the school has a budget, it won't be finalized until late May or early June when the special election is over. After the election, more cuts will be made in classes and staff.
While the Academic Affairs department is trying to find ways to save money, the budget reductions throughout this decade make it difficult to find large savings, and the office is working under the assumption the budget will be reduced in 2009-10 Kim said.
"The problem is that there is very little budget flexibility due to the fact that the vast majority of expenditures is in permanent faculty and staff salaries," Kim said.
But even so, the university, along with the rest of the CSU system, limited its enrollment for next year in order to maintain the academic quality of the universities, said Teresa Ruiz, CSU's public affairs communication specialist.
"While we recognize the severity of the state's fiscal crisis, the budget does not provide the resources the system needs to meet the needs of our students and fund our operations," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, in a recent press release. "This will impact our ability to maintain quality and services for our 450,000 current students."
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