Governor’s Budget Update

Thursday, February 25, 2021, 9:30am

TO: All Employees 
FR: Joyce Lopes, Vice President for Business and Finance
       Laura Lupei, Senior Director for University Budget and Planning
Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he had reached an agreement with the state legislature to restore the $299 million that was cut from CSU budgets last year. This plan was announced as part of a $9 billion COVID relief package for California. As planning for Fall 2021 continues and the state looks to finalize the 2021-22 budget, the potential inclusion of this funding restoration in the final budget package is excellent news for the CSU system and Sonoma State. 
The pandemic-related state budget cuts in 2020 came at a particularly vulnerable time for Sonoma State as we faced a concurrent decline in enrollment, with the related loss of tuition revenue and a gap between funding and expenses for our mandatory cost increases. 

While the expected budget relief is welcome news, it will, however, not entirely repair our current budgetary shortfall, as we still have a structural deficit. Prior to the Governor’s Budget Update, we were facing a potential deficit for the 2021-22 year of just over $15 million, plus additional expenditures for initiatives to achieve our priorities. Factoring in the potential impact of the budget restoration plus the top priorities the Cabinet has identified for next year, it reduces our deficit to $9.2 million. We expect this challenge to remain for the next several years as we work to implement a framework for strategic enrollment and see results that bring our student headcount back up to target levels. 

 The restoration of the 2020-21 budget cuts provides us with the time and space to align the expenditure of resources with the University’s strategic plan and priorities, including student success, diversity and inclusion, strategic enrollment, and repopulating our campus safely. Across campus, we must continue to identify areas where we can work more efficiently or expend fewer resources to meet these budgetary challenges and advance our highest priorities. 

This is work that we must all do together. The President’s Cabinet is hard at work finalizing the priorities and initiatives for next year. Conversations will take place at the President’s Budget Advisory Committee, as well as with shared governance and leadership groups across campus. Stay tuned for the upcoming Budget Forum in the next month to provide more details.