Will Lack of Funds Derail Plans?
By: Jordan Darling, Editor-in-Chief
California State University, Dominguez Hills is feeling the strain of a growing campus, and nothing feels it more than the process that is so critical in that growth: planning the budget.
At a Budget Town Hall held Tuesday, Interim Vice President of Administration and Finance Ron Coley said there was good news and not so good news concerning campus growth.
The good news: campus enrollment is growing at historic levels, and new faculty are being hired and buildings are coming online beginning next fall to accommodate that growth.
The not so good news? The budget is struggling to keep up with the new influx of financial needs. New buildings require computers, desks, faculty and other needs.
Coley reduced it to the most basic of terms: it comes down to a decision to “hire faculty or buy toilet paper.”
“We are outgrowing what we are funded for,” University Budget Director Jerry Willard said. Even with an extra 6 percent funding from the CSU in the 2019-20, there is still a gap in the amount of funding needed for increased enrollment.
Coley said the biggest financial needs regarding students are providing the health care they deserve and hiring faculty and staff to fill the classrooms.
In a 2018 article from the OC Register President Thomas A. Parham vowed to make CSUDH “ a destination campus, not a default campus.” Sticking to his vow, there are two new academic buildings currently under construction; the 107,000-square-foot Innovation and Instruction Building that is set to open in fall 2021 and the 91,000-square-foot Science and Innovation building that will open in Fall, 2020.
The University has also entered Phase 3 of university housing, building a new residence hall at an estimated $56 million that will open in Fall, 2020.
CSUDH received almost $380 million in funding from the CSU in the 2019-20 school year, including the six percent meant increase meant to cover the influx of students.
It appears that almost all of the funding that is coming in has been earmarked for various projects and other campus expenses.
During the Tuesday town hall, a slide displayed the campus budget for capital projects in 2019-20 which amounts to over $90 million, including a set of fire sprinklers in the Leo Cain Library which are currently non-existent.
The capital fund details the funding for all of the construction and maintenance projects on campus, including the $20.3 million in collective loans the school needed to finance some of the construction of the new buildings.
Growth is great, and CSUDH is seeing an exponential period of growth and change but when it comes down to it, the budget is having a hard time meeting the requirements for the new changes.