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* Gregoire says budget cuts still needed

The state budget yo-yo is continuing to move and Shoreline Community College officials are preparing to respond.

 

On Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010, just a week after breathing a sigh of relief over continued federal Medicaid funding coming to the state, Gov. Chris Gregoire warned that budget cuts of 4-7 percent are coming anyway, starting Oct. 1.

 

Gregoire didn’t stop there.

 

“I am asking agencies to prepare for a supplemental budget by looking at cuts of $500 million from today’s budget,” she said, adding that she’ll ask lawmakers to take action on the supplemental budget as soon as they convene in January.

 

Then, Gregoire announced that she is asking agencies to prepare and submit in September what she called “decision packages” aimed at how to cope with the projected $3 billion shortfall projected for the two-year cycle that begins July 1, 2011.

 

“Finally, I am taking action today to reduce spending in our welfare-to-work program by at least $51 million,” Gregoire said.

 

The news came as the Shoreline Community College Board of Trustees met in the first of a two-day retreat at the Lake Forest Park campus. College President Lee Lambert said that while the news isn’t unexpected, it is disappointing.

 

“We were hoping that the federal funding would stave off the need for immediate cuts,” Lambert said. “However, it is clear from state revenue reports that the economy continues to slip.”

 

Lambert said that staff at the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges is working to understand what this latest announcement will mean for individual colleges. A message sent to all presidents says an estimate of individual college impacts will be communicated as soon as possible.

 

“We’ll be getting details from the state board and then looking at what that means for us,” Lambert said. Lambert is scheduled to meet with his senior executive team Monday morning, Aug. 16. “Unfortunately, I’m sure this is what we’ll be talking about.”

 

Board of Trustees Chair Jerry Smith said the news emphasizes the need for the college to be ready to respond quickly to changing economic conditions. “We still need to serve students,” Smith said during a discussion at the board retreat. “But we have to be nimble, not just react, but be proactive as the situation changes.”

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