Spring 2001

Albany and City Leaders Respond to CUNY call For New Budget Support



s the University community moves on multiple fronts to persuade state and city elected officials to boost financial support, the New York State Assembly and Senate have issued their proposals for funding for the new fiscal year.

Assemblyman Joel Miller
Assemblyman Joel Miller, Trustee Kenneth Cook, and Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (all CUNY graduates) discuss budget needs at the Board of Trustees' reception in Albany on March 12.

The Assembly budget resolution calls for a $10 million increase in funding for new faculty and a $175 increase in community college base aid per FTE. The Assembly also recommends more money for student financial aid, doctoral student support, and restoration and increases to SEEK and College Discovery programs. Capital assistance to Medgar Evers College is proposed. The Assembly, for the first time, proposes multi-year funding for the University operating budget. The Senate version restores faculty lines cut from the community colleges in the Executive Budget. Substantial increases in childcare support are also recommended, along with a $25 increase in base aid per FTE. Reductions in adjunct funding and freshman year support are proposed. No increased funds for new faculty are recommended for the senior or community colleges.

Govenor George Pataki
Above left. Govenor George Pataki, at a conference on the nursing crisis at The Graduate Center on Mar. 29, announcing a $3 million grant for nursing education facilities in the Bronx.

It is expected that these substantial differences will be resolved by a joint conference committee in collaboration with the legislative leadership. Any agreement will be subject to the approval or veto of the Governor.
In a separate initiative, Gov. George Pataki announced his support for a $3 million health care training center in the Bronx in collaboration with CUNY and Service Employees Local 1199. The center, located in the old Alexander's department store on Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse, will provide counseling, job training and courses to prepare workers for nursing careers with the help of faculty from Lehman College, Bronx Community College and Hostos Community College.

The governor's announcement came during an appearance with Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and 1199 President Dennis Rivera at the Graduate Center on March 29, during a day-long CUNY-1199 conference on the shortage of nursing professionals in the health care industry. For fiscal year 2002, the New York City executive budget proposes an increase of $5.5 million for 100 full-time faculty and $5 million for College Now. These increases were offset by a recommended reduction in overall city support of $10.5 million. The executive budget also called for a $1.6 million reduction in administrative services and the elimination of the $6.5 million City Council Academic Scholarship Program.

The City Council budget proposal recommends restoration of the reductions outlined in the executive budget proposal. The Council's spending plan also calls for $1 million for economic development initiatives and $2 million to fund a certificate program at John Jay College in cooperation with the NYP.Meanwhile, a delegation of University trustees, administrators, staff and students traveled to the capital on March 12 to advocate for more full-time faculty, community college base aid, and other needs outlined in CUNY's 2001-2002 budget request. Chancellor Goldstein and Trustee Alfred B. Curtis, Jr. led the delegation on the two-day campaign that included meetings with key legislators, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, and senior aides to the Governor.

In addition to seeking restoration of full-time faculty lines, the delegation stressed the need for legislative support in areas such as economic development, base aid, teacher training, doctoral student assistance, SEEK, and worker education. The group completed its first day with a reception, attended by several hundred legislators and staff, held in the well of the Legislative Office Building and featuring a student jazz trio from Kingsborough Community College. Smaller face-to-face meetings with legislators took place the next day.

This trip followed a special CUNY event organized by Chancellor Goldstein and Medgar Evers College President Edison Jackson on Feb. 17: an Albany meeting with the leadership of the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus. These events were among many outreach efforts by the University. In the city, the colleges coordinated four legislative breakfasts in March for members of the State Legislature and City Council from Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island (the Bronx breakfast followed in April).