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CSU committee approve contingency plan for Proposition 30

September 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A California State University committee approved a contingency plan Tuesday that includes a tuition hike in case Proposition 30 fails in November.

The finance committee of the CSU Board of Trustees approved the plan on Tuesday. The full board is expected to approve the measure Wednesday.

The plan includes a 5-percent tuition hike -- or $150 a semester -- in January to offset a $250 million budget cut should voters not pass Proposition 30, a state sales tax hike. According to the trustees, the move would raise nearly $60 million for the rest of the 2012-2013 term.

Controversy is already brewing over letters that CSU will send out to all applicants encouraging them to vote for Proposition 30. The letter mentions that if the proposed state sales tax hike passes, students will have a better chance of getting in to the school of their choice. The letter also explains that should Proposition 30 not pass, the $250 million cut to the CSU system would take effect.

If Proposition 30 passes, CSU and UC campuses will receive $125 million from the state, and CSU trustees will consider rescinding a 9-percent tuition increase. A tuition freeze is pending the outcome of the November election.

CSU officials deny any political motivations behind the letter and say they are just trying to level with students about realities of the CSU system at the moment.

"Our enrollment could very well have to be reduced because of potential budget cuts," said CSU spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp. "So we're just trying to inform students that we'll be holding on to applications because we do get hundreds of thousands of applications for all 23 campuses."

The letter is expected to be emailed out to applicants next month. The letter also contains links to arguments for and against Proposition 30.

The school system will hold off on accepting students until after the election.

Critics say the letter has an underlying political message, which is illegal.

"California law is very clear that tax payer funds cannot be used for political advocacy," said Jon Coupal with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. "When they specifically reference Prop 30 and the revenue that it would provide, then they've crossed a line."


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