Whether unanticipated budget language that could combine Cascadia Community College and Lake Washington Technical College passes or not, it certainly indicates the mood of lawmakers in Olympia.
“The Legislature is clearly looking to the community and technical college system for increased efficiencies as they grapple with the continuing budget problems,” said Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert on Friday, Feb. 26, 2010. “That’s exactly what we’re doing with our recently announced collaboration with Lake Washington for institutional-research services. By working together, both schools will be better able to serve students.”
Lambert added that Shoreline’s partnership with LWTC is not in jeopardy. “We’ll continue to work together,” he said.
According to news reports, the surprise budget proviso involving Cascadia, LWTC and the UW-Bothell, came from Rep. Mark Ericks, D-Bothell, who represents the district that contains Cascadia. Ericks has since said that he would withdraw the proviso if a bill calling for a systemwide efficiency study is passed into law. As of Feb. 26, that bill, SB 6359, had passed the Senate on a 47-1 vote and was waiting to be scheduled for a vote on the floor of the House. Assuming passage, the next step would be Gov. Chris Gregoire’s desk.
Lambert noted that on Jan. 15, Shoreline testified in favor of SB 6359’s companion bill on the House side, HB 2634. “We support the idea of finding ways to help students,” he said. “If we can get better services or less costly services through collaboration and other approaches, we should look for those opportunities.”
The bills’ main sponsors, Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, and Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, each spoke at a Jan. 25 statewide meeting of CTC trustees in Olympia.