SACRAMENTO (AP) — California lawmakers expressed concern Wednesday that California State University campuses cannot fully justify spending on management staff after recent audits have found systemic budgeting problems at state schools.
Lawmakers made the remarks during a hearing on an audit of CSU staffing and budget oversight.
The April audit found campuses increased management staff numbers and compensation at a higher rate than for other employee groups, including faculty. It also found campuses do not adequately monitor their budgets to ensure public money is spent appropriately.
CSU representatives said they are working to fix the problems identified by the audit.
State auditor Elaine Howle said she expects the university system to implement most of the recommendations her team made by April 2018.
Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva said she was concerned recent audits found budgeting issues at the University of California and at the California State University. The two systems are receiving more than $7 billion this year under the current state budget.
“Our systems in education have to be doing a better job for our taxpayers,” said Quirk-Silva, a Democrat from Fullerton. “We have to do better for California students.”
A separate audit for the University of California released earlier this year found the system’s central administrative office did not do enough to document and oversee budgeting.
It said administrators hid tens of millions of dollars from the public, which the UC president’s office has disputed. The audit also found the office needed to maintain clearer budget plans and records.
Lawmakers at the hearing on the CSU audit said they would prefer that the system increase spending for hiring and compensating faculty instead of for management staff.
The hearing came as lawmakers struggle to make California’s public universities more affordable for residents and improve graduation rates.
“Every $7,500 that we save is one more kid who was denied a seat at the CSU,” said Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, a Democrat from Sacramento. “This is critically important for us to make decisions to save money.”
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