Group created to brainstorm funding alternatives for higher education

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the creation of a work group designed to discuss funding California’s higher education system.
Shannon Hamilton/Staff
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the creation of a work group designed to discuss funding California’s higher education system.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday the creation of a work group designed to discuss funding for students throughout California’s higher education system.

The creation of the group — outlined in Newsom’s August Economic Growth and Competitiveness Agenda — aims to make recommendations for the governor and state legislature geared around funding for higher education. The group is set to hold its first meeting in San Francisco on Sept. 15 and will meet periodically until November, according to Francisco Castillo, Newsom’s deputy chief of staff for communications.

The group consists of leaders from the public sector, such as UC President Mark Yudof, California State University Chancellor Charles Reed and California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott, as well as individuals from the private sphere, including Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and Crowell and Moring senior counsel Michael Kahn. Castillo added that he is “certain” more individuals will be added to the group.

“The lieutenant governor wanted to make sure that we have a wide range of representation when we form these working groups,” Castillo said. “The private sector was an essential component, which is why we included the private sector, union reps and UC officials to have a dialogue amongst each other as to how best we can turn our finances and higher education system around.”

The group resembles a statewide version of the UC Commission on the Future, whose membership also included figures from the public and private sectors. The commission, whose stated goal was to ensure the university’s continued fiscal viability despite difficult economic times, published its final report on Dec. 6, 2010.

Jeremy Pilaar is the campus’s legislative liaison for the University of California Student Association and is currently the only student sitting on the group.

Pilaar said that he is not concerned about being the only student voice in the group and that he hopes to help find new sources of revenue for the state. He added that the UCSA is involved in a campaign to reform Proposition 13 — which, with a few exceptions, caps state property tax rates at 1 percent of a property’s value — in an attempt to target Sacramento rather than the association’s past strategies, which have targeted the UC Board of Regents, a perspective that he plans to bring to the group.

“(I’m looking for) ways to think outside the box and move past piecemeal reforms,” he said. “I’m going to be preaching coalition building and raising revenue for the state.”

Recommendations made by the group will aim to influence what actions the state legislature and the governor will take with regard to higher education. Because members have not yet convened, most have only a broad understanding of what the project will involve.

“It seems to be in the spirit of reaching out in all directions, with the three segments cooperating and looking for ways to reverse state disinvestment in higher education,” said UC spokesperson Steve Montiel.

Claudia Keith, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs for the CSU system — which has already experienced $650 million in budget cuts — said that the work group will allow for a dialogue between different leaders in the state to discuss funding in higher education.

Kahn, a UCLA graduate who has previously served in over a dozen state appointments, including within the California judiciary, said that the opportunities he has been given are due to the education he received through the UC system. He added that the group could work to ensure that similar opportunities exist for future students.

“If the other activities (Newsom has) engaged in in the jobs area are any indication, I think it will be a powerful voice,” he said. “I’m optimistic that given the lieutenant governor’s past efforts that we will be able to come up with some good ideas and that they will be given genuine attention.”

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  • Anonymous

    The alternative is clear:  Lower Tuition, and stop fear mongering.  Cut admin salaries deeply, starting with your own.  Until the Presidents, Chancellors, and their staff are making a fraction of their current, ridiculous compensation, don’t go looking for money, or trying to tell the public how hard it is.  We’re not, blind.  And we’re not stupid.  Trotting out that bad act doesn’t scare us anymore, Its not even funny.  It’s insulting and offensive.

    If the academic leaders actually walked what they talk in terms of shared sacrifice, ethics, community spirit, etc.,  they’d have done this two years ago.  Better hop to it.

  • Here’s an idea. How about deporting students who are here illegally, so we don’t need to spend money on their education?

  • Guest

    “help find new sources of revenue for the state”
    It will be nice if this working group can do what no other legislative body or elected official has been able to do during the last century.  Don’t hold your breath.

  • Megatron

    The article screams further privatization.
    Only mention of taxation is from the one student involved, and that’s not even part of Newsome’s gig.

    Yudof’s involved, it’s both dangerous and a farce.
    People who have proven they neither understand nor appreciate the UC’s stated purpose for existence can only do harm. 

    Mr. Pilaar,
    There’s no difference between the Regents and Sacto.
    The Regents exercise their power in the State Capitol to PREVENT raising revenue.

  • Anonymous

      Tone down the liberal activism and watch the money roll in.  Businesses will no longer flee our state.  People will get jobs, crime rates will drop and Cal will have money once more. 

    • Megatron

      What do you call it when one comments only with politically stilted rhetoric devoid of facts and argument from evidence?
      Trolling the DailyCal!

      You’re so transparent, learn to step up your game bro.

      • [What do you call it when one comments only with politically stilted rhetoric devoid of facts and argument from evidence?]

        Actually, Calipenguin makes a great point. Too bad it went right over your head…

    • Anonymous

      Oh yea, penguin?  Is that kind of like the private sector asking Congress:   “remove bankruptcy protections from private student loans, and we’ll make loans to poorer students”?  Congress came through.  Did the private sector hold up their end of the bargain?  F no.  They laughed, and started demanding cosigners with real estate instead.

       Or maybe you’re going more for the  “Give us rich guys a hundred thousand dollar tax gift, and we’ll start hiring again?” approach.  How’s that working out down there in Cali…or anywhere for that matter? What did you do with your hundred thou, slick?  Oh wait…It’s none of my business, right?

      Of course the whopper:   ” Give us $700 billion…wait, check that…$1.4 Trillion right f’ing now or the economy tanks”…First thing happened…and…fuck [email protected]:disqus  The economy still tanked.

      I have a better idea:  How about you and your buddies start cutting checks for the party y’all had on our backs, while we were busy working, or being lied to, or both?  When all the cash pilfered over the past three decades is back where it belongs, we’ll see if our mood eases up. 

      And since your so smart, slick:  How about you put your real name behind your wise lectures so we can get an idea about the man behind the words?