2015/16 Supplemental Documentation

Center for California Studies

Center for California Studies, $3,694,000
(Center and Program Funding Total Request)

Mission and Overview. The Center for California Studies is a unit of the CSU whose mission is to strengthen democratic governance in California through preparing people for public service and leadership, helping to solve problems of public policy, and enhancing civic literacy through multidisciplinary education. Central to this mission is the administration of a number of fellowship, internship, and other programs.

  • The Assembly, Executive, Judicial, and Senate fellowship programs annually provide experiential education on the policy-making process to 64 college graduates from across the state. At the same time, the fellows provide valuable professional work to the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of state government. During their fellowships, fellows also take graduate classes on California government issues through California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State).
  • The LegiSchool Project provides high school students a hands-on opportunity to participate in legislative debates on issues that directly affect them.
  • The Sacramento Semester Program provides undergraduate students from throughout the state with internship opportunities in a variety of state government and legislative positions in Sacramento. Participants earn six units in internship credit plus six units in an accompanying seminar course in state government and politics, which integrates the internship experience with academic work.
  • The Faculty Research Fellows Program provides for directed faculty and staff research on topics requested by the Legislature and/or executive branch agencies. Faculty from throughout the CSU system are eligible to receive research grants under this program, and projects result in papers, conference presentations, symposia, and similar public service activities.

Budget Background. The Center's budget covers a range of costs, including: staff salaries and benefits; stipends, benefits, and graduate tuition for 64 Capitol Fellows; direct grants for the Faculty Research Fellows program; and miscellaneous other costs. In recent years, the Center has experienced a variety of cost pressures, including increased tuition costs for its Fellows, expanded conference commitments, and general price increases. Due to state budget constraints, however, the Center has received no operating cost increases since 2007/08.

Fellows Stipends Increased in Current Year. The 2014/15 Budget Act included a $442,000 augmentation to increase the stipends and associated benefit costs provided to the Capital Fellows. This allows for the Fellows' monthly stipend to increase from $1,972 to $2,550. Since this is the first stipend increase in a decade, it amounts to roughly a 3 percent increase for each of those years, which essentially covers inflation.

Current Year Cost Pressures. Since all of the 2014/15 augmentation is passed on directly to the Fellows, it provides no new funding for the Center's operating costs. As a result, the Center continues to cover its operating costs with a base budget that has not been augmented since 2007/08. The Center has been addressing inflationary pressures and other cost increases through a variety of efficiency measures, cost cutting-efforts, and one-time savings. While the Center has been able to carry out its core functions during this period, the current budget cannot support further cost increases without harming the Center's ability to fulfill its mission.

Appropriation Request. For 2015/16, the Center requests a General Fund augmentation of $204,000, which represents an increase of roughly 5 percent to the Center's entire budget. The augmentation would accommodate an anticipated 2014/15 staff COLA, general operating cost increases, and a modest increase in Fellows' stipends. As a result, the Center would be able to cover anticipated cost increases and to keep its student-oriented programs financially accessible to all Californians.