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San Francisco's Hastings College of Law could find itself with a $10.3 million hole to fill this summer.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week proposed cutting off nearly all state support for the 131-year-old school, which counts scores of prominent attorneys, lawmakers and judges among its alumni. The college is an independent arm of the University of California system.
State funding represents 25 percent of the school's budget, said David Seward, Hastings' chief financial officer. The loss of that money could cause severe problems for the fall semester, which begins in August, he said.
The proposal "did catch us by surprise," Seward said. If the Legislature does not rescind the cut, the school would have to consider last-minute fee hikes, layoffs or borrowing.
The Hastings cut is one of several offered Tuesday by Schwarzenegger as a means of closing a state budget deficit now estimated at $24 billion. The proposals include billions in cuts to higher education.
Schwarzenegger said he would leave Hastings $7,000 in public funding, the minimum amount required by the bequest of founder S.C. Hastings.
Former Gov. Pete Wilson proposed privatizing Hastings, but that plan was never implemented.
"It just seems inconsistent that an institution that was founded in 1878 ... is having its state subsidy eliminated," Seward said.