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Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed – July 13, 2010

Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting
July 13, 2010

Thank you Chair Carter.

I, too, would like to welcome Don Kassing back and express my appreciation for his willingness to return to San Jose for one more round. And, Bob Glidden I have known since our days in Florida. I know that the Cal Poly campus will be in good hands. Congratulations to Ephraim Smith who has hit the ground running, and will no doubt have plenty on his plate to keep him very busy. It is great to have somebody already so familiar with the CSU in this key position.

Unfortunately, as Robert reported, Sacramento does not seem to be making much progress on the budget. We anticipate the process could stretch out into the fall, and with this being an election year, all bets are off. We will however, continue to keep the public and our employees informed with information as soon as we can. This was the case when the governor announced that he wanted the controller to cut the pay of state workers to the minimum wage. When this has happened previously, we had been explicitly not included, but for some reason this time around, media reports indicated that our employees were going to be affected. We received confirmation from the state controller's office that our employees were not included in this since we are able to access alternative sources of revenue to provide employees with their normal paychecks. We let our campuses and employees know as soon as we could that they would receive their regular compensation.

Speaking of budgets, just a couple of comments about several bills in the legislature. Senate Bill 969, which creates a statutory fee policy, was heard by the Assembly Higher Education Committee a few weeks ago. The bill caps total student fee levels to 30% of the average cost of education, prohibits fee increases above the change in California per capital personal income each year and requires a 6 month notice for students for implementing fee increases. This bill is part of the "jobs creation" package by the Senate Democrats, but in fact CSU is on record saying that it would have led to 6,000 less jobs in our system if the bill was in place today. Higher Education Committee Chair Marty Block was clearly concerned with the measure, and said he thought the measure would restrict access to college. Author Carol Liu indicated that she knew the measure needs much more work and committed to not move the bill further unless there is consensus among the segments and others. The bill moved forward with the minimal necessary votes, and will be heard in Assembly Appropriations in early August.

There is some good news however on the legislative front. Our sponsored bill, SB 1440 continues to move closer to the governor's desk for signature. The measure was unanimously approved by the Assembly Higher Education Committee with the support of a growing list of endorsements and supporters before the summer recess. During the hearing, Master Plan Committee chair Ira Ruskin made a brief statement about the historic nature of this measure, and the commitment made by the CSU Board of Trustees Chair Herb Carter, and Community College Chancellor Jack Scott to make this a reality for students. The five co-sponsors – CSU, community colleges, CSSA, UCSA and the Campaign for College Opportunity are now preparing for the Appropriations Committee hearing on the bill in early August. Once approved, SB 1440 will go to the full Assembly for action and then it is just one step away from the governor's office. We have been working with the governor's office throughout the process, and are confident that we can find a way to address any concerns that the bill creates a state mandated cost for the Community Colleges under Prop 98. Most recognize that an AA transfer degree is in fact the best way to help students with a clear path from community colleges to the CSU in a timely manner.

Next month we will be sending out the results of our Early Assessment Program or EAP to those public high school juniors who tested their proficiency in English and mathematics last spring. As you know, by volunteering to take the EAP test, students can find out if they are on track for college entry without the need to attend remedial classes. It is given at the same time as the California State Standards test and the results are part of the overall comprehensive report that students receive. Each year we have seen an increase in the overall number of students taking the test, and would expect those numbers to go up again this year. In spring 2009, a record 369,331students took one or both of CSU's EAP tests. That number has grown by more than 50,000 over the past four years.

What we haven't seen is an increase in the level of proficiency. This year, what we hope to stress is for students to use their EAP test scores as a benchmark to enroll in an Early Start program or initiative during their senior year. A new study from the PPIC that was just released shows just how important English and math proficiency is to student success. They looked at proficiency levels on the California Standards Test, and found it greater than 50 percent in both English and math. While students are making progress in the right direction, the report suggested that nearly half of all students are not proficient in these subjects and that there is still a gap in school readiness. Low-income, African American, Latino and English language learner students began school less prepared – and ended up scoring lower on standardized tests throughout their academic years. That shows the importance of our work in letting kids know early what it takes to go to college, and the value of reaching out into underserved communities.

Chair Carter, that concludes my remarks.