Hiring, travel freeze, other cuts hitting Fresno State as Gov. Newsom faces budget crisis

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Fresno State plans to freeze hiring and restrict non-essential travel and expenditures in response to revision of a proposed state budget expected to hit the California State University and its 23 campuses hard.

University president Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, in a communication to campus on Monday, said Fresno State does not have the permanent base funding to cover a projected shortfall in state funds due to a decline in tuition revenue and increases in faculty and staff compensation and benefits, as well as utilities costs.

Jiménez-Sandoval has asked each cabinet member to propose cuts to their budgets for the next two school years.

The CSU, the nation’s largest 4-year public university system, is in the middle of a five-year compact with the state that runs through 2026-27 during which it is to receive $240 million a year.

But Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday proposed delaying compact funding for 2024-25 until 2025-26, and ennacting a one-time budget reduction of $75 million for 2024-25. The state also could cut the university system funding by 8% in 2025-26, which could mean a reduction of $20 million for Fresno State, Jiménez-Sandoval said in his campus communication.

A final 2024-25 budget must be signed by June 15.

Jiménez-Sandoval declined to comment beyond his communication to campus, but CSU chancellor Mildred Garcia on Friday said: “The California State University (CSU) recognizes that the governor’s May Revision seeks to address the state’s significant fiscal challenges. We acknowledge the governor’s commitment to the CSU but are deeply concerned about what the proposal means to our students and 23 universities. As the institution that educates the evolving workforce of California, this budget places us in a position of making difficult decisions.”

The hiring freeze at Fresno State does not apply to active job searches deemed critical to campus operations. Any exceptions must be approved by the university president and vice president leading the division.