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CSU chancellor expects future furloughs because of revenue reductions

The system's base budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year was "permanently decreased by $299 million compared to the last fiscal year because of COVID- 19.
Credit: AP
File - In this April 25, 2019, file photo, is the California State University, Los Angeles campus. The state auditor says California State University kept $1.5 billion in discretionary reserves while raising tuition at its 23 campuses and lobbying the Legislature for more funds. California State auditor Elaine Howle says in a report released Thursday, June 20, 2019, that CSU put the money, which came primarily from student tuition, in outside accounts rather than in the state Treasury. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

SAN DIEGO — The California State University system is not planning to negotiate a furlough program for this fiscal year, but one "is most likely necessary" in the 2021-22 fiscal year because of revenue reductions related to the coronavirus outbreak, Chancellor Timothy P. White wrote.

The system, which includes San Diego State University and California State University San Marcos, will spend a portion of its discretionary reserves during the 2020-21 fiscal year and each of the next two fiscal years "knowing that we are facing at least a three-year fiscal challenge," White wrote Monday in the letter to all CSU faculty and staff.

The letter was sent a day before Tuesday's meeting of the system's Board of Trustees in Long Beach when the system's financial situation is expected to be discussed.

"We will not 'zero out' our reserves nor will we plan to redirect encumbered reserves that are intended for a specified campus need or priority," White wrote.

The system's base budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year was "permanently decreased by $299 million compared to the last fiscal year because of COVID-19-imposed impacts to the state's economy," White wrote.

The system has made layoffs and may make additional layoffs, White wrote. It has stopped most hiring, except for essential positions approved by the relevant campus president or vice chancellor and "essentially stopped travel on state funds," according to White.

"I am saddened that our future includes layoffs necessitated by the economic challenges ... and despite the actions we have implemented to mitigate these circumstances," White wrote.

"However, I am proud and grateful that this approach is best for our students, our raison d'etre. This path forward reflects our deep commitment to their success." 

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