WatchSonoma Watch

Sonoma State faces $4.6 million deficit


Sonoma State University administrators and faculty leaders met Thursday in what has become a routinely grim process: reviewing the university’s fiscal situation in the face of continued budget cuts.

The school now is wrestling with a $4.6 million deficit after temporary state funding cuts of $2.3 million were made permanent in January, said SSU’s financial chief, Larry Furukawa-Schlereth.

“We had not planned for that,” he said. “That is a huge challenge.”

About $1.6 million of the shortage has been made up through freezing at least 10 positions that became vacant, he said, and the much of the remainder will be addressed the same way.

Furukawa-Schlereth said the university’s best option is to reduce staffing through attrition, but noted that is a strategy that “at some point will not be viable anymore.”

The university’s budget — including its allocation from the state and its tuition and fees revenue — is roughly $91 million.

Provost Andrew Rogerson contributed one of the few positive notes, saying that the university had reduced its enrollment to a set target, thus dodging a potential $1 million fine from the California State University system.

The CSU sets enrollment targets and holds out the threat of steep fines if they are exceeded as an incentive for campuses to live within their budget allocations. Six campuses were penalized this year, including Northridge, which was fined $7 million, Rogerson said.

The 23-campus system also faces an additional $200 million cut if voters in November reject taxes Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed, said Furukawa-Schlereth.

That would require in an additional $4.6 million cut in SSU spending.

Budget decisions often have been controversial on the campus, with critics charging that President Ruben Armiñana has excluded faculty from the process and cut educational areas when administration and capital projects should have been targeted.

At Thursday’s meeting, anthropology professor John Wingard urged that “as this goes forward, that the whole process be as transparent as possible and have as many voices involved as possible.”

You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or jeremy.hay@pressdemocrat.com.

6 Responses to “Sonoma State faces $4.6 million deficit”

  1. Money Grubber says:

    So what if the State College is short on money?

    The government is busy spending money on its brand new but UN-necessary court house in Santa Rosa so all the public employees can have new offices, new furniture, new everything.

    Look at the fire trucks, the police cars, the “park ranger” trucks… all brand new.

    Thats what counts. Not education for the up and coming citizens of the state.

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  2. Joseph says:

    Funny, the shortage is similar to the cost of the dream act implimentation on this campus. Another example of voting for something we do not have the funds to pay for it, and thus American citizens are displaced from servives they have been paying for their whole lives. How long before a fiscal implosion with the Latino agenda?

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  3. bear says:

    Unbelieveable that such a group of morons should exist in the 21st century.

    Do you not want kids to have the opportunity to go to college? Hard to do if you don’t fund facilities, faculty and classes you don’t like. If you don’t do all these things, then its not a “college.”

    What you do seem to want is a generation of ignorant, uneducated persons who will support your positions without question. Without critical thought.

    I think we’ve seen this before – it was called the “Middle Ages.”

    So where do you all stand on birth control? Hopefully the very conservative position that government should not touch anyone’s junk?

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  4. Money Grubber says:

    Can It Be True:

    Don’t forget that absolute life skill that they teach known as “Golf.”

    Nobody should be able to get a “college” degree without a “golf” class.

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  5. Can It Be True says:

    Past time to end the ethnic studies, women studies, peace and justice studies and all the other programs going nowhere. Stop the construction of grandiose structures that cannot be paid for in this age of austerity.

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  6. Dogs Rule says:

    Here’s a quote and the source so you tell me:

    The Chronicle has projected that the GMC and Student Center combined will cost SSU over $193 million in construction, as well as $200 million in debt. With students already swimming in budget cuts, the Chronicle XXI questions who are the “have and have-nots” in these development projects.


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