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SDSU Campus in San Marcos a Big Winner in Budget Plan

January 11, 1989|DANIEL M. WEINTRAUB | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — The new state university campus in San Marcos was the big local winner Tuesday when Gov. George Deukmejian unveiled his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The campus is slated to receive more than $47 million in construction funds and enough money to hire 14 administrators to get the campus up and running.

If there was a local loser, it was the county government, which appears certain to be hurt under either of two scenarios Deukmejian proposed for trimming spending on health and social-service programs.

Deukmejian's budget proposal brought a mixed bag for other county institutions, with both UC San Diego and San Diego State University getting most of what they sought but missing out on some projects they badly wanted. The budget also earmarks funds for community colleges, county parks and transportation projects countywide.

Big Slice of CSU Pie

If the governor's spending blueprint survives a six-month battle with the Legislature, the new San Marcos campus will be alloted more than 25% of all money to be spent on construction at California State University campuses next year, according to the state Department of Finance.

"This is excellent," said Sen. William Craven (R-Oceanside), who has championed the San Marcos campus cause. "We're very happy with that."

The budget includes $18.2 million for construction of the campus' first building, which will house the school's library, administration, faculty offices and computer services.

Another $18.1 million was set aside for the university's first academic building, which will provide teaching space for 1,375 students, laboratory space for 172, and 159 self-instruction computer stations.

It is expected to cost $9.7 million to grade and prepare the building sites, and install roads, pedestrian walkways and utilities.

"The campus is glad to see that people in Sacramento agree that the priority for higher education in that part of San Diego County is high," said Rick Moore, a spokesman for San Diego State University, which will retain control over the San Marcos campus until the fledg ling school can stand on its own.

The budget news was not as bright for county government, which will find itself once again doing battle with the Legislature over funding for basic health and social services for the county's poor.

John Sweeten, director of legislative affairs for the county, said the proposed budget's effect on the county is hard to gauge without further study. But he said Deukemejian's proposal to change how the state pays for medical care for poor people not covered by Medi-Cal could cause major disruption of a program the county has spent several years developing.

The county could also be pinched by Deukmejian's proposal to eliminate state money for 27 programs while at the same time freeing counties from the obligation to run them. But Patricia Gayman, the county's Sacramento lobbyist, said that measure, which would save the state $42 million, is not as simple as it sounds.

Tough Decisions Ahead

"There is a constituency for every one of those programs," she said. "The Board of Supervisors is going to have to make some very tough decisions--if to cut those programs, by how much, and, if not, where to find the money to continue them."

But the county may have to accept these cuts and go along with a Deukmejian proposal to cut welfare benefits and eliminate funding for birth-control counseling, or else face a worse fate. The governor has threatened to cut $337 million in programs for the mentally ill, children, the aged, and alcohol and drug services if the Legislature does not agree to his proposed budget.

"It seems to be to our advantage to work with the administration and try to develop a package that will go through the Legislature," Sweeten said. He said the governor was left with little choice when he was forced by Proposition 98 to allocate 42% of the budget to kindergarten through 12th-grade education and the community colleges.

"The way we see it, the state is faced with an awkward and difficult situation," Sweeten said. "They're taking a fixed pie and reallocating half a billion dollars out of it. That's going to create real problems for the programs left to compete for the balance of it."

UCSD Allocation

In another part of the budget, meanwhile, UC San Diego was allotted $38.8 million for six construction projects.

The school would get $30 million for construction of its central library addition, $5.1 million to renovate the undergraduate sciences building and $1.9 million toward construction of a new sciences building.

UCSD would also get about $1 million to renovate Urey Hall, an engineering building; $343,000 for a visual arts building and $326,000 to equip the renovated computer science building.

Wayne Kennedy, the university's vice chancellor of administration, said the governor did not recommend funding a $1.1-million project to make buildings more accessible to the handicapped.

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