Tuesday, March 31, 2009
* Senate, House release budget proposals
With state Senate and House 2009-11 biennium budget proposals now on paper for all to see, lawmakers from both sides will gather at the negotiating table to craft a compromise plan.
The Senate released its plan on Monday, March 30, while the House released its version the next day. Gov. Chris Gregoire began the budgeting season on Dec. 18 with her proposal. In addition, the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges has provided a comparison and some analysis of all three budgets.
“It’s too soon to know just what the end result will be,” Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert said Tuesday, March 31. Lambert was in Olympia meeting with all three legislators from the 32nd Legislative District, including: Sen. Darlene Fairley and Reps. Ruth Kagi and Maralyn Chase. “I was there to state our case, make sure they understand the impacts cuts could have and ask for flexibility with whatever resources we do get.”
Next steps in Olympia will be conference committtee meetings while regular committee work on pending bills resumes.
For more, see these links:
Friday, March 20, 2009
* State Board Executive reviews stimulus money possibilities
Charlie Earl, Executive Director of the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges on Friday, March 20, sent the following memo regarding the federal economic stimulus package to all community and technical colleges in Washington.
TO: Community and Technical Colleges
FROM: Charlie Earl
DATE: March 20, 2009
SUBJECT: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Update
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides the Washington community and technical colleges with an unprecedented opportunity to increase access and achievement for hundreds of students. While the framework for implementing the ARRA is still unfolding at the federal level, the State Board office is working with Governor Gregoire and partner agencies to use these funds to maximize delivery of quality educational programs and services.
By the end of next week, we expect the Senate and House fiscal chairs to release their legislative budget proposals. This will give us a better idea of how the Legislature is planning to use State Fiscal Stabilization funds and Federal Medicaid funds to mitigate the state budget deficit.
We have been consistent in our message to the Governor, the Legislature, and partner agencies. The community and technical colleges are the providers of both short-term and long-term training and skill development for unemployed, dislocated, and low-income Washingtonians. Further, education and skill development in high demand occupations are essential to Washington’s recovery process. With additional federal stimulus or state resources for enrollment capacity, the community and technical colleges will deliver.
Governor Gregoire has emphasized the following core principles to guide agencies’ planning for use of the ARRA funds:
- Get money in people’s pockets immediately;
- Create or save jobs in the near-term;
- Make innovative investments in areas that lay the foundation for Washington’s 21st century economy;
- Create strategic alliances with the private sector, non-profits, local governments, and other state agencies that align goals and magnify the effect of resources; and
- Be accountable and transparent.
Attached is a list (click here for list) of ARRA programs the State Board office is closely following. The Governor is pursuing a coordinated strategy between her office and the Legislature, State Board, college districts, and partners.
In the past week, OFM and the Governor’s Office have become more explicit in describing the proposal and approval processes for various funding categories. Of all the categories of funding, there are at least three broad process categories.
1) Those funds that will be applied directly to relieve the state budget by the Legislature and the Governor. (The $820 million K-12/Higher Education Fiscal Stabilization Fund is an example.)
2) Funds that must be applied for; however, they are distributed to states by formula. (WIA funds are an example.)
3)Funds that will be distributed by proposal, competition, and grants directly to the eligible institutions. (NSF funds are an example.)
The attached funding category descriptions will clarify the proposal and approval processes to a degree; but, admittedly, much more guidance is needed. In many cases detailed information about how specific programs will be implemented is not yet available. The Governor has asked agencies to submit a Recovery Plan and other details by March 31. We will briefly discuss our office’s efforts to develop this plan at next week’s WACTC meeting (March 26-27). This document will be updated as new information becomes available and posted on the State Board website.
Below are two additional sources for information on recovery funding.
State website: http://www.recovery.wa.gov
Gov. Gregoire’s ARRA website describes the recovery package, funding requirements, and timelines. It serves as a “one-stop” location for expenditure and accountability information.
Federal website: www.recovery.gov
President Obama’s ARRA website enables citizens to monitor the progress of recovery. The site will include information about Federal grant awards and contracts, as well as formula grant allocations.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
* Too soon to assess new deficit impact
The state budget deficit got deeper on Thursday, pushing $9 billion, but what that means for Shoreline Community College isn’t yet clear.
“We know it is more than before,” Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert said just hours after the budget announcement in Olympia.The deficit had been pegged at $8-8.5 billion. The new forecast added just over another $500,000 to that number. “We don’t know what that might mean for Shoreline.”
Lambert said he did hear late Thursday afternoon that 2009-11 biennial budget proposals from both the House and Senate would likely be delayed from the anticipated March 24-26 window. Lambert will attend meetings with other community and technical college presidents from around the state scheduled for March 26-27.
“We should know more by then,” Lambert said.
According to a story from the Associated Press, Arun Raha, the state's chief economist, believes the state economy will bottom out sometime in July-September, with some better news in October-December. The jobless rate, however, wouldn’t peak until the second quarter of 2010 at about 10 percent.
* 1800 Building Remodel
The 1800 Building is long overdue for a facelift. It hasn’t had any major improvements in its 40+ years, and now, beginning Spring Quarter, renovation will begin on the building, including all eight classrooms, with completion expected before Fall Quarter. “The renovation will greatly improve the learning environment for both students and instructors,” said Facilities Director, Bob Roehl.
Facilities worked closely with the architect, electrical engineer, project manager, faculty representatives, Media Services, and Technology Support Services to ensure that the classrooms accommodate today’s electrical and technological needs, as well as prepare for future technological and SMART classroom upgrades and wireless environments. Strategic placement of conduits and/or wiring will provide easier installation of future media equipment as funds become available to purchase them. New lighting flush with the ceiling will open up space for the media equipment and screen use, making it easier for students to see from their seats.
An important upgrade to the classrooms was improving the usability for both faculty and students. This will be accomplished by setting up each classroom so there can be an instructional podium (where instructors are facing the students and media equipment can be installed underneath), installed at one side of the classroom and an electronic projection screen placed in a location that allows for whiteboard space to always be available for the instructor to write down points concerning what is presented on the projection screen. Also, light switches will be placed where the instructors can easily use them.
Several building upgrades will not be as visible, but will be equally important facets of the renovation. They include meeting current ADA code requirements, new gas service, new HVAC system, and new fire/sprinkler system and a new roof.
The Move-Out Schedule
The move-out schedule begins next week with computer and media equipment, overhead carts and projectors, LCD projectors, whiteboards, furniture, and other items being labeled and moved to temporary storage locations. A detailed list of the move-out schedule is attached. Set-up of temporary classrooms will occur during the week of March 23. See Schedule.
Where will the classes be held during the remodel?
Schedule Coordinator Steve Gibler said that things are set for Spring Quarter. “Classes will be held in a number of dedicated spaces across campus,” including FOSS rooms 5100 (old student lounge), 5101 (old Bookstore), PUB conference rooms 9102, 9201, 9202 and 9208 (Quiet Dining Room), and the Board Room. These rooms will mostly be used as classrooms during the morning class time up to 12:30 p.m.
“We are ready for classes,” said Gibler. He said that teaching accoutrements such as whiteboards have been earmarked for these temporary classroom spaces.
Summer Quarter will be a much smoother process. Gibler said that there should be adequate available classroom space to accommodate all summer classes.
The 1800 Building is due to come back online before next Fall Quarter.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
* SCC Global Affairs Center and WP&DSS student club host brown-bag discussions on global economic crisis
The second in a series of free, open-to-the-public, brown-bag discussions about the current economic crisis will take place at 12:30 p.m., Friday, March 13, in the Quiet Dining Room (9208) of the PUB (near the visitor parking lot) at Shoreline Community College.
The topic of this discussion is social responses to economic crisis, and will feature three SCC faculty members followed by discussion with the audience. Participating from the college are psychologist Diana Knauf, historian Amy Kinsel, and economist Tim Payne.
Future brown-bag discussions, resuming in April, will explore aspects of the economic crisis, including business and labor; energy, food and other natural resource issues; healthcare and humanitarian assistance; and immigration and refugee issues.
These sessions are being organized by the Global Affairs Center and the Worldly Philosophers’ & Dismal Scientists’ Society (WP&DSS) student club at Shoreline Community College. For more information, contact Larry Fuell at 206-546-4624. http://www.shoreline.edu/collegemaps.html.
Shoreline Community College is located at 16101 Greenwood Avenue North, just west of Aurora Avenue and north of Seattle city limits. For directions and maps to the college:
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
* 'Don't Starve the Solution,' Community Forum on State of the College
The public is invited to ‘Don’t Starve the Solution,’ a public forum about how the economic crisis is impacting your neighborhood college, Shoreline Community College, from 6 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 17 in the Quiet Dining Room in the PUB, Building 9000.
College President Lee Lambert will talk about how Shoreline CC is playing a key role in helping Washington state recover the effects of the downward spiral of the economy by providing worker retraining opportunities, something many colleges cannot currently provide. A question and answer period will follow President Lambert’s presentation.
Free parking is available. Shoreline Community College is located at 16101 Greenwood Avenue North. The PUB is located at the south end of the campus, near the main entrance.
Monday, March 09, 2009
* SCC Lecture Series Includes Earth Day Pioneer
The acknowledged Father of Earth Day, Denis Hayes, turns his attention from the natural environment to the built environment as part of a four-part lecture series at Shoreline Community College.
“Denis was the coordinator of the first Earth Day in 1970,” said Mike Nelson, director of SCC’s nationally recognized renewable energy program. “To have his voice in this new frontier of sustainability in the environment we build for ourselves is extremely important.”
The series, “Energy in the Built Environment,” is the brainchild of
Nelson, who is also executive director of the NW Solar Center and a Washington State University professor. Each lecture will actually include two presenters with a moderator for a discussion period.
The “Energy in the Built Environment” lecture series is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Please go to http://shorelinecc.eventbrite.com/ to RSVP. A copy of the RSVP will serve as attendees’ campus parking permit for the evening. Each session will start at 7 p.m. in the SCC PUB Main Dining Room. To receive college credit for the series and related work, please go to: http://www.shoreline.edu/es/registration01.htm
“The idea is to get two key players in various aspects of the current energy debate and hear what they have to say about the issues of the day,” Nelson said. “Then, we’ll have time to discuss and answer questions.”
Nelson said the series will be a unique opportunity for the audience as well as the presenters to have these discussions. “These are people who don’t often get a chance to speak with each other, to see the other’s perspective,” Nelson said. “These lectures will add to the knowledge base, not just spread it.”
To that point, the series is also the centerpiece of a four-credit class in SCC’s Zero Energy Technology Program. “We’re expanding the program and this series is a new piece,” he said.
All lectures in the series will start at 7 p.m. in the SCC Building 9000 (PUB) Main Dining Room http://www.shoreline.edu/collegemaps1.html. The series will include:
April 9 – “Two Views: 50,000 Feet and Ground-Level”
- Dennis Hayes, Bullitt Foundation
- Stan Price, Northwest Energy Efficiency Council
April 16 – “Three-Legged Stool: Public Policy/Public
- Bert Gregory, Mithun Architects
- K.C. Golden, NW Climate Connections
April 23 – “The Road Ahead: Energy Strategies and the Built
- Tom Eckman, Conservation Resources, NW Power and Conservation Council
- Tom Starrs, American Solar Energy Society
April 30 – “David and Goliath: Residential Solar and Regional
- Terry Oliver, Bonneville Power Administration
- Gary Shaver, Silicon Energy, LLC
Friday, March 06, 2009
* College identifies jobs, programs for cuts
Above: SCC President Lee Lambert speaks Friday, March 6, 2009
Below: Classified staff member Amy Easton listens.
Shoreline Community College has started the process to close two programs and cut 33 positions in anticipation of deep budget cuts forced by the state’s economic crisis.
“This is a difficult day as we grieve the loss of positions and the impacts that will have to our family here at the college,” Lambert said to several hundred people during an open all-campus meeting Friday, March 6,
2009 in school’s PUB Main Dining Room. Of the 33 jobs identified to be cut, 18 are currently filled.
The programs slated for closure are Cosmetology and Speech Language Pathology Assistant.
The Cosmetology program operates a full-service salon in a leased building near the campus. The curriculum teaches not only the art and science of cosmetology, but also business and interpersonal skills in the classroom and under actual salon conditions. The salon offers hairstyling and cuts, manicures, pedicures, facials and more to the public. Cutting the program means the loss of two classified positions, two faculty positions (one currently vacant) and the eventual lease savings.
Budget cuts aside,
SCC ready for the future
SCC President Lee Lambert feels that despite the potential cuts, the college is well positioned for the future.
“We are uniquely situated to move the college forward in a positive way,” he said. Lambert referred to President Barack Obama’s stated focus on healthcare, energy and education.
“We are ahead of the game to pursue resources that may be coming our way,” he said. Lambert cited the renewable energy program, which is the first in the region to produce certified workers for green-collar jobs and the health care information technology program.
He said Obama’s emphasis on reducing high-school dropout rates matches well with SCC’s Learning Center North and Career Education Alternatives programs. “We have the finest dropout retrieval programs in the country.”
In addition, Obama’s focus on expanding public service resonates with SCC’s increased emphasis on incorporating service learning into the curriculum in a broad way.
“We’re ahead of the curve on all of that, thanks to the work done by you,” he said.
Because students take cosmetology classes in sequence, just shuttering the program isn’t possible, said Vice President of Academic Affairs John Backes. While no more students will be admitted to the program, currently enrolled students can complete their degrees, he said. “That’s our promise to those students,” Backes said.
The Speech Language Pathology Assistant program prepares students for jobs with private firms or public agencies that provide speech-language pathology services. Assistants work with speech language pathologists to help those with speech- and hearing-impairment disorders. Cutting the program means two faculty positions would be lost.
Lambert said a bill currently before the state House of Representatives could change the program’s fate. Known as SSB 5601, the legislation sponsored by Sen. Rosa Frankilin, D-Tacoma, would mandate state certification for speech language pathology assistants.
“If that bill is signed into law, the college would re-examine this decision,” Lambert said.
In addition to losing the two programs and the related positions, Lambert said the college will undertake a major reorganization of the Student Success division, which is under the direction of Vice President Tonya Drake. The changes will mean Drake loses two adviser/counselor positions, three classified positions and three administrators.
“We think of it as a redesign,” Drake said. “We’re moving toward a one-stop model, with multiple services available at the counter. Right now, we’re an industrial model where we move the student along.”
During a question-and-answer period, Drake was asked if the personnel cross-training needed for the one-stop model had potential disadvantages due to loss of expertise. Drake acknowledged the possibility, but said she and division directors felt the potential advantages presented by added flexibility and the ability to respond to high-traffic periods outweighed possible losses.
Other position cuts include an administrator in Technical Support Services and 11 other faculty positions.
A number of questions were asked about how and why certain faculty positions were identified for reduction.
“We followed the budget committee’s request and used the points of consideration, but we went far beyond that,” Backes said in response to one question. To a similar question posed later, Backes read part of the criteria used to make the choices “as fair as possible” and promised to post the entire document.
Lambert said the budget-reduction plan is the current best estimate of both the level of cuts that will be needed and where to make the slices. He said a trip to Olympia on March 5-6 and meetings with other community colleges presidents as well as elected officials and state staff helped direct his thinking about what would likely be required.
“Our focus is around 10 percent,” he said, adding that translates to about $2.4 million of SCC’s operating budget. “That said, if the economic forecast gets worse and the Legislature does its work, we may have to refocus.”
Lambert also wanted to dispel what he has come to feel are misconceptions of the possible impact from the federal stimulus package. He said the feeling in Olympia is that lawmakers will aim federal money at early learning and K-12 education first, with the leftovers falling to community colleges and four-year schools. He also said that may not be all bad.
“A better way could be to get the base budget to the highest level possible with state dollars. Why? Because in two years, when the federal money goes away, we’ll be in a better position,” Lambert said.
Lambert asked Vice President for Administrative Service Daryl Campbell to outline the numbers facing the college.
Campbell said the reduction range could be from $2.4 million (10 percent) to $3.6 million, about 15 percent of the school’s operating budget. The actual target is still to be determined.
Campbell also addressed the potential impact of the federal economic stimulus package, officially know as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The state’s share, he said, is likely to be around $6.7 billion, which includes:
- $820 million in block grants to local school districts and public colleges and universities;
- $182 million in flexible block grants to avert budget cuts in education or other state services and,
- $50.3 million for Workforce Investment Act job training and employment services.
Other pieces of the federal package include:
- $750 million nationally for new program of competitive grants for worker retraining and placement in high growth and emerging industries;
- Increase Pell grants from the 2008 limit of $4,750 to $5,350 in 2009 and $5,550 in 2010 and,
- Tuition and related- expense tax credit of up to $2,500.
Campbell then presented slides showing the specific positions that could be reduced. A number of them are already vacant.
Later, in a response to a question, Lambert said those vacancies could play a key role in minimizing the number of people who may have to leave the college. “For example, in classified, there are six positions vacant. We may be able to mitigate the impact.”
Lambert also said that some employees have come forward to say they’d be willing to retire if that meant a coworker’s job could be saved.
- points of consideration
- Backes document
- Campbell slides
- Classified contract
- Faculty contract
Brad Coulter/SCC photos
Thursday, March 05, 2009
* Shoreline Community College has Worker Retraining money available
Mounting layoffs from businesses large and small have more people than ever hitting the streets looking for work, only to find they need to upgrade their education and skills to find that next job.
While community colleges are the solution of choice for thousands, these displaced workers often need a financial helping hand. With the current crush of layoffs, many would-be students are finding some schools with their own empty pockets when it comes to Worker Retraining dollars, that is, except for Shoreline Community College.
“We are most fortunate to have money for our dislocated workers,” said Berta Lloyd, Dean of Workforce Education. While Shoreline had also tapped the Worker Retraining budget to its limit, college officials saw the need and were able to move money between funds “to free up money for tuition and books for these students,” Lloyd said.
Worker Retraining is a state-funded program that provides job-related training and employment services to dislocated and unemployed workers to help them gain additional training in their existing field or get started on a new career path.
According to Kim Cambern, Worker Retraining Program Manager at the college, SCC has approximately $130,000 available for new students and enough funding for current students for Spring Quarter. Still, potential students shouldn’t wait.
“It’s first-come, first-served,” Cambern said. She also warned that even at Shoreline, funding for some of the short-term programs is no longer available.
This past fall, more than 360 students using the Worker Retraining program were enrolled in classes at Shoreline, 40-50 percent more than just a few years ago. The numbers were higher for Winter Quarter and are expected to jump again for Spring Quarter.
The new Solar Design and Installation Program at Shoreline is one of the more popular programs for students returning for retraining. Students have the option to complete short-term courses or complete a one-year program.
“Our program is truly on the cutting edge nationally, really globally, in the move toward alternative energies and sustainability,” Lloyd said. “We’re focused on providing the education and training needed to move workers into this new and growing field.”
Free tuition and books are provided through Shoreline’s Worker Retraining program and are typically available for up to two quarters. Qualified students can go to an orientation and register in one of the college’s 50 professional-technical programs.
Worker Retraining students also receive career counseling and job search support. A state Employment Security Services office is also located on campus.
Additionally, Worker Retraining students can choose to take occupational supplemental classes to upgrade their skills; earn a certificate or an AAAS degree.
Funding is distributed to all community colleges at the beginning of each fiscal year, July 1, so additional money is expected to be available at that time, Lloyd said.
Monday, March 02, 2009
* Lots of budget information, few answers
When it comes to the budget, the only thing not shrinking is the number of variables.
Expect the belt-tightening to start squeezing tighter
The “belt-tightening bill” passed by the Legislature in February and signed by Gov. Chris. Gregoire will indeed cause Shoreline Community College to suck it in.
“We will be interpreting this very narrowly, very narrowly,” Campbell said Monday, March 2, at the Shoreline Community College Operations Committee meeting.
Although the bill went into effect on Feb. 18, it wasn’t clear just what the impacts would be. After a flurry of memos from state sources interpreting the new law, those impacts have become clearer, Campbell said. (See state memo)
Five main areas outline in the law, salaries, hiring, personal services contracts, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel are all in some state of freeze, including:
Salaries: Frozen through Feb. 18, 2010 except some increases for classified staff. However, the freeze applies to all funding sources, not just direct state dollars.
Hiring: Frozen through June 30 for state-funded positions except those related to academic areas.
Personal services contracts: These are frozen through June 30, but Campbell said this area can be difficult to discern.
Equipment: Frozen for items, or units, over $5,000. As an example, Campbell said a “computer” unit is everything needed to make a computer usable, including screen keyboard, the machine itself, taxes, etc. The freeze is on units of $5,000 or more, but multiple units of less than that could be packaged together.
Out-of-state travel: Frozen, although President Lee Lambert said schools with large international programs such as SCC are looking at how to fund necessary recruiting trips.
Campbell said anyone contemplating expenses in these areas should submit them in writing to the vice president over their area. The requests will be reviewed by the VP and Campbell, who added: “Then, we’ll have a discussion.”
- The equation includes the possibility of layoffs, but discussions with the individuals and labor groups involved could affect any answer there.
- The state budget hole is most likely deepening, along with a softening stock market and national economy, but a potentially huge federal stimulus package may bring some relief.
- Some of the federal money will be directed at education, but how it may be administered isn’t clear making what the billions mean for higher education, or the community and technical colleges and finally, Shoreline Community College, even murkier.
And, the answer to the No. 1 question at SCC - What’s going to happen? – isn’t necessarily helped by more information.
“It was ambiguous,” said SCC President Lee Lambert on Monday, March 2. Lambert spent the previous Thursday and Friday in Olympia for the statewide CTC presidents’ meetings along with his own talks with lawmakers. “We heard from Victor Moore, the director of the Office of Financial Management (and others). They didn’t even know.”
In comments to members of the SCC Operations Committee, Lambert did say that it looks like cuts of some magnitude, regardless of federal dollars, will be unavoidable.
“The thinking now is the Governor’s budget, which is 6 percent or 6.5 depending on who is saying it, times 1.6 so that puts it close to 10 percent,” Lambert said. “That seems like the likeliest scenario … absent any offsets.”
Those offsets could include federal stimulus money and tuition increases. Tuition hikes, Lambert has said in the past, can also tend to price students out of the market and may not help the bottom line.
As for federal money, Lambert cautioned that getting it to the state is one thing while spreading it around in the state is another. To qualify for the education portion of the federal program, states must assure the U.S. Department of Education that funding levels will be restored to at least the 2006 level.
“With the federal formula, one could argue we’d get to the Governor’s 6-6.5 percent level,” Lambert said. “But you have to be sure (state officials) apply the offset to us. To go there, I believe would be misguided.”
Lambert pointed to comments he heard from lawmakers last week that they would seek to fund early learning first and K-12 education second. “Look at the size of the K-12 hole. They could take it all,” he said.
If a choice is required, Lambert said he’d prefer to stay close to the current allocation level and rely less on the federal cash. “That’s only for what? Two years and then we’d be right back here,” he said. The federal law for the stimulus package calls for spending all or as much as possible within two years.
Regardless, Lambert said the federal focus is on professional-technical programs that can quickly churn out employable workers. “(The community college) niche is in prof-tech,” he said.