Senate Education Committee Passes Measure to Streamline CSU Financial Audit Practices, Create $2 Million in Savings

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Senate Education Committee today passed Senate Bill 736, a measure authored by State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) to streamline the California State University (CSU) system’s systemwide financial audit practices, achieving approximately $2 million in taxpayer and campus savings every year.

“In light of our state’s dire financial situation, we should do everything possible to give our state’s outstanding public universities the freedom and flexibility to prioritize their limited funds so that they can continue providing their students a world class education,” said Sen. Cannella. “My bill achieves millions of dollars in savings to the CSU system while still maintaining our state’s commitment to transparency and accountability, and I’m pleased my colleagues voted to support this measure.”

Currently, CSU is required to conduct a systemwide financial audit each year and to audit each of its 23 campuses every two years. However, because most financial, personnel and administrative decisions are made at the Office of the Chancellor with oversight from the Board of Trustees – not at each individual campus – campus audits reveal little new information.

SB 736 eliminates the biennial campus audits, but requires CSU to include any relevant campus-specific financial information in an addendum to the annual systemwide audit. Removing this duplicative audit is expected to save the CSU system approximately $2 million every year by streamlining processes and reducing redundancies.

“The California State University appreciates the efforts of Senator Cannella to help the system reduce administrative costs at a time when resources are scarce,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed.  “We believe SB 736 is in line with the CSU’s focus on transparency and accountability, as well as enhanced operational efficiencies.”

SB 736 was approved by the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 9 to 0. The measure has been re-referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee and will be heard in that committee at a later date.