Whether or not Proposition 30 passes, University of California leadership has to learn a key lesson: You can’t put all your eggs in one basket.
As of press time, results for Proposition 30 ““ Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax increase measure ““ were undecided. If voters do not approve Proposition 30, the University will face a state funding cut that could cause each student to have to pay up to 20 percent more in a midyear tuition hike.
The fact that the UC’s fiscal future hangs so precariously on the measure is troubling. Relying on Proposition 30′s passage without any seeming alternative other than raising tuition was a shortsighted move on the part of UC leaders.
It was clear going into Election Day that the people of California did not decisively support Proposition 30, with approval for the measure hovering around 50 percent in weeks leading up to the election.
In contrast, undergraduates at UCLA voted overwhelmingly for Proposition 30, according to exit polling done by the Daily Bruin. Approximately 89 percent of the students polled voted in favor of the proposition, with only eight percent voting against.
Regardless of the measure’s outcome, the regents should have made solid backup plans to avoid a do-or-die situation in the event that Proposition 30 did not pass.
On Election Day for the UC, it was pass Proposition 30, or lose funding, and then raise tuition ““ the University of California’s usual go-to solution for dealing with budget reductions.
This is unacceptable, given that the UC has known for months that Proposition 30 would be on the ballot. As of Tuesday, the regents had not yet finalized a plan of action for what to do in the event that voters did not approve Proposition 30, and have only said that students are likely to see double-digit tuition increases.
Steve Montiel, a UC spokesman, said early on Tuesday that if Proposition 30 fails, the regents will have difficult decisions to make moving ahead on a number of issues, including tuition. He made it clear that these issues would once again be brought into the discussion at next week’s regents meeting, if the measure does fail.
It’s time for the regents to find another solution to balancing out funding cuts from the state. Tuition increases are constantly looking over the shoulder of the University’s students, an ever-present threat.
Frankly, the state has been cutting down on funding streams to higher education for years.
The regents have discussed some potential alternative sources of funding ““ increasing the number of out-of-state students, using different models for financial aid or changing parking management have all been discussed ““ but have not moved to create a sustainable long-term funding model for the University.
Even if Proposition 30 goes through, this election brings to light the need for the regents to develop and discuss alternative means of funding. Proposition 30, if enacted, is only a temporary solution ““ the tax increases it entails would expire after several years.
Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board