A balanced California budget announced Thursday is good news for the state’s institutes of higher education. The University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems will each receive an additional US$250 million in the 2013–14 budget, partially restoring drastic cuts made during the fiscal crisis. The plan also includes an additional $2.7 billion for community colleges and primary and secondary schools, according to the Sacramento Bee.
When California Governor Jerry Brown was elected in 2010, he faced a $26-billion shortfall. The newly announced budget includes a modest surplus in addition to increased spending for education. Key to the boost is a $6-billion voter-approved tax increase tied to support for state-funded education. Democrats and Republicans expressed overall support for the proposed budget, which the legislature will need to approve before it goes into effect this July.
In 2009, cuts to the UC system exceeded $800 million, and CSU’s budget was nearly $600 million less than expected. The shortages prompted infighting between campuses (see ‘University cuts bite in California‘).
Budget cuts and tuition hikes at California schools have spurred waves of protest at meetings of the UC governing board. In one case, students dressed as zombies had to be escorted from public meetings. UC leaders had urged students to campaign instead for a ballot measure raising taxes and promised to stall tuition increases if the measure passed.