California Public College Bosses Still up to Hidden Money Tricks

“The California State University stashed away $1.5 billion in discretionary reserves,” the Sacramento Bee reports, “while raising tuition and lobbying the Legislature for more funds, according to a report released Thursday by California State Auditor Elaine Howle.” According to the audit, “CSU kept legislators, students and the public in the dark about the $1.5 billion surplus, which nearly doubled the cost of tuition from 2008-18.”

CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White called the report misleading and told the Bee, “reserve funds are like a family savings account” and “it is a strong mischaracterization to call it a surplus.” The CSU boss didn’t explain the relation of the hidden $1.5 billion to the increase in tuition. For California students, parents and taxpayers, Howle’s audit may revive some memories.

As we noted in 2017, University of California president Janet Napolitano, a former Arizona governor and Department of Homeland Security boss, was beating the drum for tuition hikes when another state audit came up with a surprise. The office of the UC president was hiding more than $175 million in discretionary reserves. As the audit revealed, the UC president hiked administrative spending by 28 percent over three years but deployed no method for tracking expenses. The UC president’s office also “intentionally interfered” with investigators and tampered with the responses of the various UC campuses, removing statements critical of the office of the president.

In November, 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 562, which makes state employees who willfully mislead the California auditor subject to fines and criminal charges. By all indications, Janet Napolitano suffered no penalty for her deception and obstructionism, and she remains president of the University of California.

However the hidden CSU $1.5 billion shakes out, students, parents and taxpayers should not be surprised if tuition keeps rising and Timothy P. White keeps his job.


K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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