2004/05 Support Budget

Center for California Studies, $428,284

Center for California Studies, $428,284The Center for California Studies is a unit of the CSU whose mission is to promote understanding of and effective participation in the political and policy processes that govern the State of California. Central to this mission is the administration of the Assembly, Executive, Judicial Administration and Senate fellowship programs and the LegiSchool Project. The fellowship programs provide “on the job” experience on the policy-making process to 64 Fellows who are studying California government issues at CSUS. At the same time, these students provide valuable services to the legislative, executive and judicial branches of State government. The LegiSchool Project provides high school students a “hands-on” opportunity to participate in legislative debates on issues that directly impact them.

Capital Fellows Programs

The Center for California Studies operates as a public education, public service and applied research office of California State University, Sacramento devoted to promoting the understanding of California’s history, cultures and public policies. As part of its public service responsibilities, the Center administers the nationally renowned Capital Fellows programs, which include the California Senate Fellows, the Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship Program, the Executive Fellowship Program and the Judicial Administration Fellowship Program. Through these programs, 64 fellows are selected to spend a year working with the California legislative, executive or judicial branches of government. Fellows receive a modest stipend and benefits in exchange for full-time professional work in State government. The fellows are enrolled as graduate students (12 units) at CSUS and participate in a carefully planned educational program built around their governmental experience.

The four fellowship programs provide the Legislature, the Executive branch and the State Judiciary with individuals with proven academic and professional achievements, knowledge of California government, and a strong commitment to both public and community service. Fellows serve an 11-month term, providing staff assistance in the State Capitol offices of legislators and legislative committees; Executive branch agencies, departments, boards, commissions and constitutional offices; and the Judicial Council, the Administrative Office of the Courts and consolidated county courts.

The direct costs of the Capital Fellows programs consist of stipends, benefits and student fees for 64 fellows. There are also operating expenditures associated with administering the program. Since the fellowship programs began, an agreement between CSU and the State Department of Finance resulted in calculation of the fellowship programs’ operating expenditures budget at 15 percent of the direct costs.

Faculty Research Fellows Program

Center for California Studies, $428,284The Center for California Studies also administers the Faculty Research Fellows Program. Since 1994/95, the considerable faculty and staff resources of the CSU have been made accessible to either the executive or legislative branches of California State government through the Faculty Research Fellows Program.

The Faculty Research Fellows Program provides for directed faculty and staff research such as research papers requested by the Legislature and/or executive branch agencies, organizing and participating in conferences, seminars, symposiums and similar public services activities.

The direct costs of administering the Faculty Research Fellows Program are grants awarded to the researching faculty or staff. Indirect costs are calculated at 20 percent of direct costs and cover the cost of administering the program and publishing research results.

LegiSchool Project

The LegiSchool Project, administered by the Center, was developed in 1994 as an educational collaboration between CSUS and the California State Legislature. LegiSchool is an issues-oriented, civics curriculum designed to engage students in discussions about genuine problems facing the State, encourage critical thinking skills and promote the knowledge necessary for effective citizenship. The mission of LegiSchool is to promote citizenship in schools by creating opportunities for high school students to participate in debates with State leaders concerning the problems affecting California citizens. By focusing on issues that directly impact students, LegiSchool activities and study materials increase students’ interest.

The second element of the project is an ongoing series of interactive, televised town hall meetings and press conferences in which State government officials and high school students meet face-to-face to discuss current issues and legislation. These meetings are broadcast live from the State Capitol by the California Channel, which enables students and other interested citizens throughout the State to participate in the discussion. Comprehensive study packets are available for classroom use before and after each televised event.

Prior to FY 1999/2000, the Assembly and Senate provided funding for the LegiSchool Project through interagency agreements with CSUS. In FY 1999/2000, $125,000 was included in the CSU budget for the LegiSchool Project, which was transferred to the Center budget to cover direct and administrative costs of the project.

Undergraduate Outreach and Development

Center for California Studies, $428,284The Sacramento Semester Program is an undergraduate internship program of CSUS which each spring semester places students in a variety of State government and legislative internship positions in Sacramento. Participants earn six units in internship credit plus six units in an accompanying seminar course in State government and politics, which allows participants to integrate their practical internship experience with academic work. The Sacramento Semester Program is open to students from throughout the CSU as well as other universities. Typically, many alumni of the Sacramento Semester Program apply to a Capital Fellows program once they graduate. The funding provides financial aid to fifteen Sacramento Semester students each year totaling $3,600 each (i.e., an amount approximating the fees and room and board for one semester at CSUS). This enables more students of limited economic resources to participate in the Sacramento Semester Program and, in turn, creates a larger pool for Capital Fellows program applicants in the future.

Program Administrative Costs—Judicial Administration Fellowship Program

Created in 1996/97, the Judicial Administration Fellowship Program (JAF) is administered in partnership with the Judicial Council. JAF Fellows provide professional staff support to judicial administration operations throughout California. In FY 2000/01, the Judicial Administration Fellowship Program was expanded to ten fellows; and the Center soon realized the administrative impact of doubling the program, compounded by the placement of JAF Fellows across the State, rendered the old JAF/Executive administrative structure untenable.

The Center requested and received additional funding of $114,000 in the 2001/02 budget to fund salary and benefits for a full-time director and half-time support assistant for the JAF Program.

2004/05 Budget Increase

The total increase being requested is $428,284. This includes restoration of the budget reduction taken in 2003/04 of $253,000. In addition, additional funds are being requested for the Fellows Programs and the Center’s administrative staff benefits shortfall.

Over the past several years, applications to all Capital Fellows Programs have declined. Available data indicate that the primary cause of this decline is the level of the monthly stipend that is not competitive in the job market. Despite recent increases, the stipend remains below what it would be if the stipend kept pace with civil service salary adjustments of the past decade.

This request reflects a stipend increase for 2004/2005 of $68 per month per fellow. The total stipend increase for 64 fellows for 11 months, including the associated benefit and operating expenditures increase, is $124,284.

In addition, the Center’s administrative benefits cost has a shortfall of $51,000. This is strictly a benefits increase, no salary increases have been included in this request.


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Jo Ann Lumsden
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Last Updated: December 8, 2003