Thursday, August 16, 2012

CSU Grad Schools Barring CA Residents

I was as dismayed by CSUs closing grad schools to California residents as anyone.

So here are a few observations:  You can download a spreadsheet of the CSU budget and for campus after campus you see academic salaries comprise less than 50% of the budget, and salaries are 85% of costs.
CSU Budget spreadsheet:

You can look up a professor's salary and it is only a tiny bit more than the average public school teacher, (looking at the avg with 15 years experience). All that work to get a Ph. D. and you make little more than a 3rd grade teacher.  Yet senior administrators make around $300,000 or more.

Voters can look at cops and senior city and county officials retiring on over $200K/year at 55 and wonder "if the govt can afford that with their tax dollars why can't they afford to pay for more professors?"  (CalPERS took in $7 Billion from state and local govts last year to make up for their inability to make their 7.5% earnings).  Hence a reluctance to vote for new taxes because the people who you want to get it aren't going to - it will go to those with the richest unions, not for whom you intend it.

In 1999 retirement benefits for highway patrol and other state employees were substantially boosted and state and local govt's were encouraged to do the same with the promise that the state and local govts wouldn't have to pay anything - it would all come from CalPERS and CalSTRS investment earnings.  That lasted one year and then the earnings fell short and every year since then they have gotten worse and worse and this year the state bill alone is over $7 Billion.  Cities and counties are putting in even more which is coming from libraries and parks, and the sale of city property.  To put that in context, ALL tuition money from ALL students for ALL CSU campuses = about $4.5 Billion.  The figures for the UC system are $3 Billion.

In other words, tuition at CSU and UC's could be COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY FREE!, even with the bloated administration if the state didn't have to pay so much for retirement benefits that aren't sustainable from employer-employee contributions.

UC  (page 7)

Employees should have a retirement benefit that is self-sustaining and provides a reasonable retirement.  That is why I support Gov. Brown's proposal for a hybrid plan that would provide 60% of salary at a reasonable retirement age.  No one "needs" to retire at 55 with 90% or more of grossly inflated salaries.

- Michael Goldman

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