PSC’s New York City Budget Plan for Opportunity
Mayor Bloomberg’s Executive Budget would reduce City operating support for CUNY community colleges by a million dollars, according to CUNY. His plan for CUNY also assumes a requested $300 tuition hike that many community college students cannot afford and it defunds council-supported initiatives that enrich the college experience and improve student success. To support opportunity for all New Yorkers, the Council should:
Fully Fund CUNY’s Mandatory Inflationary Cost Increases ($9.4 million)
By failing to provide additional funds to cover regular, inflationary cost increases associated with energy and personnel that are necessary to run the university, the Mayor’s budget leaves CUNY unable to maintain its current level of service to students.
Fund New Full-time Faculty and Student Services with Public Dollars, Not Tuition Increases ($31.2 million)
Instead of hiking tuition, support CUNY’s full budget request with increased public funds for CUNY community colleges. Protecting students from another tuition hike would require $22 million. Funding CUNY’s requested enhancements would require $9.2 million. CUNY needs public funding for new full-time faculty lines, new counselors and student services. These investments will help students get the classes they need to graduate on time, bring class sizes under control, and ensure that community college students get the support they need both in and out of the classroom.
Restore Traditionally Council-Supported CUNY Initiatives to their 2008-09 Funding Levels and Make Them Part of CUNY’s Annual Baseline Budget ($17.2 million)
Enrichment programs such as the Black Male Initiative and the Creative Arts Team, along with the Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, and Dominican Studies Institute have all provided gateways to opportunity and a better future for CUNY students because of generous support from the City Council. But the Mayor cuts these programs in his budget every year and the Council has struggled to maintain adequate and consistent funding for them because of understandable pressure to fund other worthy causes in an austerity environment. The need-based Safety Net Scholarship and the merit-based Vallone Scholarship were among the council-funded initiatives, until they were defunded in 2009 and 2011, respectively. CUNY’s other council-funded initiatives are caught in the same trap, having their budgets chipped away at year by year.
CUNY’s other council-funded initiatives should be baselined as well, and restored to their 2008-09 funding levels. The Council should also renew the commitment to student access that it made with Safety Net (once funded at $4.5 million) and Vallone Scholarships (once funded at$11.2 million) through a new financial aid program.
Fully Fund CUNY’s Capital Budget Request
Students learn more and faculty and staff are more productive when they have modern equipment, decent facilities and a safe, healthy learning and working environment. The new Fiterman Hall at BMCC and recent projects at Hostos Community College have led to real improvements in learning and working conditions at CUNY. But there is so much more to do. The PSC supports CUNY’s five and ten-year capital budget requests. We join the University in urging you to fight for funding CUNY’s 2013-14 critical maintenance and construction needs.