I am pleased to provide you with highlights from my March College Council President’s Report.
College Council President’s Report
March 19, 2015
My report today will be brief as I will speak to a single topic.
Last month, I informed you that this is a critical time concerning the State Budget for The City University of New York and the College of Staten Island as we are a state-funded institution. The executive branch previously issued its budget proposal along with the “one house budget bills” presented by the Senate and Assembly. The Governor and leaders of the Senate and Assembly are working to reconcile these proposals and are negotiating allocation of additional funding that may be available. A Higher Education Conference Committee, representing both houses of the Legislature, has begun meeting, and conference committees will soon prioritize budget decisions as we quickly approach the April 1, budget deadline.
I previously advised you of the CUNY “Gold Sheet” for funding its priorities. CUNY has further focused its funding priorities in what is now being called the “Platinum Sheet.” Included in the “Platinum Sheet” are the following seven major priorities:
- A total of $51M in additional assistance to restore the senior college operating budgets caused by increases in mandatory costs such as health care, wage increases, and energy;
- Maintenance of effort funding to cover collective bargaining and fringe benefits;
- An increase of $250 per FTE in community college base aid;
- Raising the ceiling on TAP awards for eligible students. There is a gap of about $40M between what TAP covers and the cost of CUNY tuition, which impacts some of our most vulnerable students;
- Restoration of the $181M critical maintenance dollars slated to be cut in the executive budget;
- Removal of language items that would negatively impact CUNY’s autonomy in decision making; and
- Ensuring that the Rational Tuition Policy, which was passed in 2011, will continue.
There is a small window of opportunity to make an impact on the process. I have utilized this small window by again personally contacting this week all of our Staten Island legislative representatives in Albany and urging their support for CSI and CUNY.
I encourage the faculty, staff, and students of our College community to visit www.supportcuny.org, which provides more detailed information about the State budget status and includes a “Budget Conference Letter” that can be sent to Conference Committee members and our representatives in the legislature.
To coin a phrase, the time to act is now.