By Santiago Castillo |Staff Writer|
The CSU system has $1.8 billion in critical maintenance backlog due to budget cuts.
“CSU hasn’t received funding for deferred maintenance since 2007-08,” according to The San Bernardino Sun.
Due to the maintenance backlog, the CSU system faces a crisis because it has disrupted education and remains a threat in the safety and effectiveness of buildings used for educational purposes.
Nearly half of the CSU system buildings are more than 40 years old and infrastructure such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are deteriorating.
Statewide laboratories have been shutdown and other locations have faced power outages.
Such occurrences have caused relocation of students to different learning facilities and cancellations of classes.
CSUSB has nearly $21.4 million in critical deferred maintenance infrastructure projects, including $2.5 million to replace an electrical substation.
“CSUSB tries to put a list of priorities when it comes to maintenance, overall we have projects that we want to do and the cost of those projects are 21 million,” said Vice President for Administration & Finance, CFO Robert Gardner.
“We’d like to upgrade the electricity utilities because they were implemented in the late 1960’s and early 70s, the three original buildings (Chaparral Hall, Sierra Hall, and Administration) suffer leaking, we would like to start these projects, but they’re very expensive,” added Gardner.
“We’d also like to add new technology to the school, and if an emergency were to occur we would put our funds to it and make it a priority,” continued Gardner.
Some students were outraged by the lack of maintenance.
“This makes me really mad because if I’m paying to get an education that I deserve, but the school cannot give me that because its areas of learning are inadequate, this situation is very unfair to me,” said student Joshua Ramirez.
“Makes me think why tuition is so high, if the school does not provide an education that is up to par as it should be I think tuition should be lower,” said student Jessica Rodriguez.
Some students simply wish the maintenance would be done so that more classes would open up.
“I really do think this is a crisis. Because due to these problems the school is unable to open buildings and have more classrooms which would add more classes, sections, and professors,” said student Richard Garcia.
Gov. Jerry Brown proposes to shift debt service payments into CSU’s budget from the state, which means CSU would be responsible for issuing its own revenue bonds for capital projects.
The proposal is similar to what lawmakers authorized last year for the University of California.
Under the proposal, CSU would report project priorities to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and submit them to the state Department of Finance for approval, according to The San Bernardino Sun.
“I’m really looking at what is the highest priority, what’s the highest need? So this is in effect to rationalize, to integrate the capital costs with all the other costs, so you can make the best possible decisions and presumably you can earn more money if you can manage in the way that this proposal intends,” said Brown.
With this proposal Gov. Brown and CSU will try to resolve the maintenance crisis within the CSU system.