Recently, the San Joaquin Valley Legislative Caucus sent a letter to California State University Chancellor Timothy White requesting increases in investment into local campuses in the San Joaquin Valley, specifically CSU Stanislaus, CSU Bakersfield and Fresno State University during budget negotiations over the additional $97 million provided to the California State University System in the 2015-16 State Budget.
Notably, the Central Valley has among the lowest educational attainment rates in the California, which has taken an adverse toll on economic growth potential and the ability for local industries to diversify which has resulted in some of the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the nation.
“Properly funding our college campuses and holding them accountable to better completion outcomes is essential to the future of California’s economy,” said Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto).
In the letter, members state that additional revenue would allow these schools to dedicate resources toward increasing enrollment, of which many of the campuses have the room for but lack the funding; and toward making sure that programs are innovative enough to attract a more diverse business sector into Valley communities.
As it relates to educational priorities Olsen said of the recently passed budget that it must reflect certain priorities.
“We owe it to the next generation to pass a budget that is both fiscally sound and invests in their future. This means increasing our investment in higher education so our universities remain accessible,” said Olsen.
Notably, the letter was copied to California State University (CSU), Stanislaus President Joseph Sheley, as well as Dr. Horace Mitchell, CSU Bakersfield President and Joseph Castro, CSU Fresno President.
The large bipartisan group of the Central Valley delegation signed onto the letter including Assemblymembers Adam Gray (AD-21), Kristin Olsen (AD-12), Frank Bigelow (AD-05), Susan Talamantes Eggman (AD-13), Shannon Grove (AD-34), Jim Patterson (AD-23), Henry Perea (AD-31) and Rudy Salas (AD-32). State Senators signing onto the letter include Anthony Cannella (SD-12), Tom Berryhill (SD-14), Jean Fuller (SD-18), Cathleen Galgiani (SD-05) and Andy Vidak (SD-14).
To view the letter, click here.