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Testimony On The FY 2002 CUNY Operating Budget Request

Delivered Before The CUNY Board of Trustees

By

Steven London, First Vice President

Professional Staff Congress

 

November 13, 2000

 

I want to compliment the Board of Trustees on the consultative process leading to your adoption of the FY 2002 CUNY budget request. Preparing and circulating earlier drafts of the budget request and providing both time and opportunity to discuss these drafts has allowed the PSC to have meaningful discussion of the budget request and input into the document that is before you. I want to thank those who prepared this document for including several of the PSCís suggestions for changes, including an increase in the number of full-time faculty and the inclusion of a diversity initiative.

Overall, the PSC is appreciative of the Boardís request to increase New York State and City resources for CUNY. While your proposed 11.1% increase in State Aid and 12.5% increase in City Aid for FY 2002 are sorely needed, I know you share our view that this is inadequate to meet our needs. CUNYís budget office reported that New York State and City disinvestment in CUNY over the decade of the 1990s, in inflation adjusted dollars, amounts to $374 million. Clearly, we have a lot of ground to make up.

With this in mind, the PSC will work diligently with the BOT to gain the most resources possible for CUNY in the coming fiscal year. While we share many of your priorities, the PSC thinks more can be requested and won from the State and City. Thus, I ask you to increase your budget request this year so that CUNY can more quickly acquire the necessary resources to provide access to an excellent education for the people of New York City.

First, is full-time lines. Your budget request is inadequate to meet the 70/30 goal of full-time to part-time faculty set out in the Master Plan. In the documents supporting the Master Plan, the Chancellory indicated that 1,500 faculty would need to be hired over a four year period to achieve that goal. While the request for 300 new faculty is welcome, this is not enough to meet the Master Planís stated goal. Furthermore, the budget document before us downgrades the long term goal to 750 new faculty lines without any justification for this new number.

The PSC requests that the Fiscal Year 2002 budget request be increased to 350 new full-time lines and that a target of 525 new full-time faculty be established for the two succeeding years.

Second, is teacher education. In order to meet the Regentsí requirement that half of all teacher education courses be taught by full-time faculty, CUNY needs to immediately hire more teacher education faculty. Your current budget request does not make a provision for this important priority - a priority, I would add, of the Master Plan.

The PSC has done its own survey of the needs of CUNYís teacher education schools. Conservatively, we estimate that at least an additional 108 new full-time faculty are needed to meet the Regentsí mandates. Therefore, we request that 108 new full-time faculty targeted for teacher education be added to this yearís budget request.

Third, is paid office hours for adjuncts. You acknowledge in your budget request that the majority of instruction in CUNY is being done by adjunct faculty. Quality education demands that faculty be available for students outside of class. Yet, CUNY does not provide the funds for this important teaching function. Therefore, the PSC requests that you include an $8 million item to provide for office hours for the majority of courses taught in CUNY.

Fourth are additional CLT, HEO and Faculty Counselor lines. The university is stretched to its limit in dealing with administrative and student support and technical instructional support. In this yearís budget the PSC requests that you add to your budget request an additional 100 CLTs, 66 HEOs and 34 faculty counselors to meet both current demonstrated need and programmatic expansion.

Fifth, is Ph.D. graduate student support. CUNY needs to do what every other major research university does, that is give adequate support to its graduate students. According to the PSCís estimates, providing tuition waivers for all Ph.D. students would cost $2.5 million more than is provided for in your current budget request. Therefore, the PSC requests that you increase to $4 million dollars the graduate fellowship category.

There are a number of other budget items for which we seek increases: PSC/CUNY Research awards should be increased by $3 million; professionally-related travel funds should be increased by $2 million; the diversity fund should have a $2 million initial expenditure; and the Centers for Worker Education should be included under the Economic Development Initiatives at a total cost of $1.23 million.

Finally, the PSC is committed to reducing tuition and increasing SEEK and College Discovery funding and refunding STAP. We hope to work with the Board to realize significant increases in state funding for these programs.

Thank you.