Head-Scratcher Alert: Senate Appropriations kills Wilk’s CSU study bill

Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) issued the following statement, after his bill to study the feasibility of a new Cal State University (CSU) campus in the High Desert was held by the Senate Appropriations Committee:

“California is in the middle of an unprecedented budget deficit and this bill wouldn’t have used a single state dollar. Why it was stopped here is a head-scratcher,” said Senator Wilk. “The High Desert is the last oasis of affordability and growth left in California. As the region continues to grow, California should be laying the groundwork to ensure that local opportunities exist, so that future generations can pursue their career goals close to home. Rejecting this measure is a disappointing step in the wrong direction.”

Senate Bill 1023 would have authorized the CSU Chancellor to conduct and submit to the Board of Trustees a study about the feasibility of an independent CSU campus in the High Desert. The bill does not implement any mandates or requirements on the CSU system until after funds for the study have been privately secured.

Aside from financial and personal obligations, distance from state universities is a large factor keeping students in rural areas from pursuing a bachelor’s degree. The closest CSU campus to the Victor Valley is currently CSU San Bernardino. Depending on the time of day, the drive on I-15 can take at least an hour each way.

“By not even allowing a feasibility study, the Committee turned its back on an economically promising region of California. The High Desert should not be an educational desert. It has immense potential, and it's time we start treating it as such by exploring every opportunity to expand access to higher education,” concluded Wilk.