Polytech Budget Forum breaks down $433 million spending plan

Last Friday's Polytech budget forum answered a host of questions involving school spending and future tuition costs

On Jan 28, a Polytech Budget Open Forum was hosted by the Budget, Finance, and Reporting Working Group. The forum broke down how funds for the Cal Poly transition would be distributed.

The Budget, Finance, and Reporting Working Group is composed of 15 campus and community members. While their membership overlaps with the University Resources & Planning Committee (URPC), they are responsible for the oversight and management of $433 million and $25 million in collaboration with Cal Poly Humboldt’s Chief of Staff and Provost.

The forum was held to clarify any questions community members may have had. This discussion came before a proposal outlining the polytechnic transition was to be submitted to the Chancellor’s office on Monday. The funds for this proposal are currently held central at the Chancellor’s Office, which means that the Budget & Finance Team must make an annual request to disperse those funds to the university. Their initial request that was made in Fall 2021 was approved, however it was on the condition that they present financial planning updates to the Chancellor’s Office every January and July.

Executive Director of Budget & Finance Amber Blakeslee broke down an overview of the $25 million Polytechnic Spending Plan to the attendees.

“Collaboration is really at the heart of what we’re doing. The polytechnic transition is being implemented with a $25 million plan. This is being spent over a six year period,” Blakeslee said. “This is an iterative planning process. These plans will continue to be refined as we go.”

The updates to the prospectus are intended to reinforce polytechnic prosperity in the first two years (2021-22 and 2022-23) in areas such as faculty for program development, staffing, information technology, recruitment, advising, infrastructure, e.t.c. One of the working group’s goals is to launch and sustain new academic programs in Fall 2023. Previously, students had uncertainties of what tuition rates would look like as we make the transition to polytechnic.

“Tuition rates are set at a system level, not a campus level. Becoming a polytechnic would not increase tuition.” Blakeslee said.

The Budget, Finance, and Reporting Working Group also tried to highlight the change from the prospectus in terms of cause and impact. Investments to faculty and staff and are central to their planning, and additional investments are to be made in the future.

“We’re actively hiring 16 new positions to help out with the plan’s new buildout,” Blakeslee said. “The marketing and rebranding is everything.”

Thirteen staff positions have recently and are currently in the process of being filled, with additional recruitments forthcoming. In the initial planning estimate, the Budget and Finance Team is working to implement a total of $2,993,000 in ongoing expenditures for year 1 (2021-2022). Meanwhile, they are also refining plans for a total of $8,469,000 in ongoing expenditures in year 2 (2022-23). This is to align with iterative planning needs.

If you have polytechnic related questions or ideas, you can email poly@humboldt.edu or reach out to the applicable implementation team.

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