State

CSUS facing $4.5M in cuts

TURLOCK — Career college students — those who stick around campus, taking classes year after year — will be getting a friendly note from California State University, Stanislaus, encouraging them to move on.

That's one of several measures the administration plans to make room for students who need it the most as the college faces even more budget cuts next year. President Ham Shirvani outlined his plans for faculty and staff at a budget forum on campus Monday morning.

Shirvani said he is anticipating another $4.5 million in cuts for the 2010-11 fiscal year but is preparing reductions of as deep as $6 million. University spokeswoman Kristin Olsen said the university wants to be prepared "if and when it is asked to cut even more from its budget."

Stanislaus State cut $6.2 million from its $96 million budget this year. It canceled 144 classes and laid off 60 faculty members. Remaining employees take two furlough days each month.

Faculty members asked Shirvani if the furloughs would continue next year. Shirvani said that hasn't been decided; the CSU chancellor's office is working with the unions on the issue.

Although the university's winter term will go on as scheduled, summer school courses remain up in the air. "That's still in discussion," Shirvani said. Olsen said the chancellor's office might let the campuses offer extended education courses, which pay for themselves. But traditional academic, or state, classes are unlikely.

"Since we don't have any money, the possibility of offering state side courses during summer will be remote," Shirvani said.

In the meantime, the university has to cut its enrollment by 200 students next fall, after going from 7,400 full-time equivalent students to 6,800 students this year.

To help make sure the students who do enroll can get the classes they need to graduate, Shirvani said, the university is working on letting all current students register early. And the enrollment office will send letters to the "Super Seniors," those who have more than 140 credits but keep taking classes.

Eliciting the morning's only chuckle, Shirvani said those records will be reviewed and anyone who has met graduation requirements will get a "nice letter saying, 'Congratulations, you have your degree. Come pick it up.' "

Those who are close to graduation will get a slightly different message, he said: "Finish kindly and leave."

Shirvani did have some positive financial news to share. The federal government has issued $70 million in stimulus money to the CSU system. The chancellor's office distributed a portion of that, holding on to a larger chunk in case of further state budget reductions.

Stanislaus got a little more than $500,000, with which it will add back some classes in the spring.

"This is one-time money," Shirvani said. "So we can't count on it, but it's something."

The "Save Our Classes" rally is from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. today in the quad at California State University, Stanislaus, 801 W. Monte Vista Ave., Turlock.

Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at pguerra@modbee.com or 578-2343.

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