One of the more perceptive aspects of Gov. Jerry Brown’s fourth inaugural address was his observation that it is wrong to ask today’s college and university students to go into debt to fund the pension deficits at the institutions they attend.
Under Brown, California has done a good job of rebalancing things that for 20 years got out of touch with reality. Funding for schools more-or-less matches expenditures. A rainy day fund will prevent the legislature from overspending in good times when stock markets produce windfalls. California’s health care system has been restructured to bring something like 12 million more uninsured into some sort of coverage.
What remains is a system of higher education that still doesn’t have a cost structure that’s sustainable within reasonable tuition rates, and the system can’t produce enough openings to fill the demand from high school graduates, especially in the Cal State system.
The legislature needs to fund our flagship Cal Poly and allow measured expansion to 15,000 students at our emerging leader, CSUCI, in a manner fair to taxpayers and students.