LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — California State University officials might be better off spending money to repair aging campus buildings rather than admitting more students, Gov. Jerry Brown told the university system’s board of trustees Tuesday.
The governor made the remarks at a meeting in Long Beach where a preliminary budget seeking $250 million in additional state funds was unveiled, the Los Angeles Times reported.
CSU officials said much of that money would be used to admit 20,000 more students, add more teachers, and increase courses and advisory programs that would help those students succeed. The university’s campuses had to turn away more than 22,000 qualified applicants last year.
About $15 million of the additional funds would be used to repair and upgrade campuses, several of which are in serious disrepair.
California State University, Los Angeles, recently had to begin paying $155,000 a month to lease a campus cooling system after the old one broke down. Electrical and water systems on some other campuses are more than 50 years old.
“I lay awake at night wondering do we have faculty, staff and students in unsafe buildings,” said trustee Lou Monville.
That being the case, Brown said, it might make more sense to spend additional money on repairs rather than admitting more people to the 430,000-student system.
“If you take more people than you’re already serving, you’re going to expand the need for space, gas, electricity,” he said. “It sounds like buildings need to be taken care of before you bring more students in.”
He said more online courses might be a better way to accommodate more students at a lower cost.
The governor also warned that the Legislature, faced with other pressing financial concerns, might not be willing to approve an additional $250 million.
“You can ask for more, but you have to understand that you’re not alone. A bunch of other people are also asking,” he said.
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