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Brown urges UC leaders to rethink education

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From page A1 | November 15, 2012 |

Gov. Jerry Brown, left, talks with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom at the University of California Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday. Brown made his first appearance at a regents meeting and urged UC officials to control costs and avoid raising tuition. AP photo

Gov. Jerry Brown, left, talks with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom at the UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. Brown is set to make his first appearance where he's expected to urge UC officials to control costs and avoid raising tuition. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

By Terence Chea

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday called on the University of California to contain costs and rethink how it does business, even though voters approved new taxes to help fund education.

Brown made the plea during his first appearance at a UC Board of Regents meeting just a week after the passage of Proposition 30. The governor, students and university supporters campaigned heavily for the measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.

“You’ve got to look for some cost savings,” Brown said. “You don’t want to raise fees. The state can give you more, but there’s a limit.”

On Tuesday, officials at UC and California State University systems postponed votes on raising student fees. The UC board had been scheduled to consider tuition increases for several professional degree programs.

On Wednesday, the governor urged the 10-campus system to embrace digital technology that will allow more students to take online courses for credit while UC saves money.

“In order to meet the needs going forward without constant large tuition increases, there will have to be different ways in which people learn and in which people teach,” Brown told the board.

The governor said he’s optimistic about the state’s budget outlook, indicating Prop. 30 will provide needed tax revenue.

The nonpartisan legislative analyst said Wednesday that California is facing a much smaller deficit of $1.9 billion through the end of the next fiscal year and could even see surpluses over the next few years.

The UC board’s finance committee has approved a preliminary budget for 2013-14 that seeks about $400 million more in state funding than the $2.4 billion the system received in 2012-13.

The tentative budget was approved ahead of the months-long state budget process that will determine how much public funding is allocated for California’s public colleges and universities.

Five years ago, UC received more than $3.2 billion in state funding, but that was before the financial crisis that led to deep budget cuts and steep tuition hikes.

UC President Mark Yudof thanked the governor and university community for campaigning for the tax initiative that temporarily raises the sales tax and income taxes on wealthy individuals.

“The University of California, for the first time in my four years here, finally has a clear shot at attaining a sense of fiscal stability,” Yudof said. “This is an achievement worth celebrating.”

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