Thursday, April 9, 2015
Can't we all just get along?
All the talk in recent weeks about how to fix the University of California's money woes and stave off a tuition hike has been between Gov. Jerry Brown and UC President Janet Napolitano. But the Legislature has plans of its own, and a proposal sponsored by the state Senate's top Democrat won unanimous approval Wednesday from the Senate Higher Education Committee. Senate Bill 15, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, and Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, would use an infusion of cash -- $75 million each to UC and California State University -- to stop the tuition increase and bring more students and classes to the state's public universities... To help pay for the $342 million plan, the Senate has proposed abolishing the Middle Class Scholarship Program, which the Legislature approved in 2013 to help middle-income students hit hard by steep tuition increases during the Great Recession. De Leon has said the program should be scrapped in favor of "graduation incentive grants" because it isn't working as designed...
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, has said she's open to tweaking the program but will not support a bill that eliminates it. "The Assembly is absolutely committed to letting the Middle Class Scholarship keep working, since it has already helped more than 75,000 California students, including middle income and lower income students that fall through the financial aid cracks at both CSU and UC," Atkins said.
Full story at http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_27873653/senate-plan-eliminate-uc-tuition-hike-wins-unanimous
It might be noted, just to add to the complications, that former Assembly Speaker John Pérez is part of the fifth column Gov. Brown put on the Regents and the Middle Class Scholarship program was his baby. He would not be happy to see it abolished.
And it is also worth noting that the governor has the line-item veto so he could remove any money he didn't want in the UC budget. Could the legislature override such a veto with a two-thirds vote? It would take some Republican votes to get to two thirds, but that is not necessarily impossible. Stay tuned for the May revise, coming in about a month.
And, in the meantime, a soothing tune: