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* SCC's budget unveiled just as Gov. Gregoire calls for more cuts at state agencies

As expected, the overall 2009-10

Gov. calls for 2% cut

 

Gov. Chris Gregoire is asking for more cuts from state agency budgets.

 

In an e-mail sent late Thursday, June 18, 2009, Gregoire asked for all “executive Cabinet agencies to decrease their General Fund employee costs by 2 percent from what was budgeted.”

 

Gregoire cited numbers in the revenue forecast released the same day, June 18, which indicate further losses of about $482 million over the next two years. The report also says that any turnaround could start later this year.

 

Gregoire acknowledged that with the current hiring cap in place, the move “may necessitate furloughs, reductions in force or reductions in overtime, or not filling vacancies.” She said agencies will be able to fill positions needed for core duties and to accomplish reforms enacted during the past legislative session. “I’m also directing agency directors to continue their stewardship of controlling spending on equipment purchases, out-of-state-travel and personal service contracts,” she said in the message.

 

Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert said that additional state cuts are not a surprise.

“We anticipated this,” Lambert said early Thursday evening. “While we don’t have figures yet and await direction from the state board, we were conservative in building the proposed budget we just showed to our Board of Trustees."

 

“We’ll exercise prudence, and (the President’s Senior Executive Team) will meet Monday to discuss this.”

budget for Shoreline Community College looks to be going down a little more than 10 percent.

 

 “The total reduction of $2.716 million includes the approximately $1 million we cut for this current year,” Vice President of Administrative Services Daryl Campbell told the college Board of Trustees at a special June 17, 2009, study session.

 

The special session was called just for the preliminary review and no public comment period was scheduled. A final budget is expected to be adopted at the board’s regular meeting, scheduled for June 24, at the Lake Forest Park campus.

 

Campbell said the proposed budget includes the 7 percent tuition increase approved by the state Legislature and ordered by the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. However, budget director Holly Woodmansee clarified that in the world of state finances, 7 percent doesn’t always mean 7 percent.

 

“We will realize abut 5.2 percent,” Woodmansee said prompting Trustee Roger Olson to ask, “Where does the other 1.8 percent go?”

 

Woodmansee explained that a process of takeaways and givebacks is involved in turning 7 percent into 5.2 percent.

 

“First, 3.5 percent of all tuition is required to go into a tuition loan fund," Woodmansee said. Then, the college adds back various fees with the bottomline equaling 5.2 percent.

 

In addition, Woodmansee said college officials are proposing to take about $256,000 of the expected tuition increase for a tuition set-aside. “We did that just in case tuition doesn’t come in at the levels we expected,” she said.

 

Woodmansee acknowledged that while enrollment numbers for both summer and fall quarters are doing well, the budget covers the entire year. “This is a conservative approach,” she said.

 

Campbell noted that an additional $50,000 is identified in the proposed budget as a cushion for salaries and benefits. “That’s about $300,000 as a contingency fund,” Campbell said. Adding that the college hasn’t always had such breathing room, he was also cautionary: “There’s always the possibility of additional cuts being imposed by the state (See related story).”

 

Not in the budget, Campbell said, were any of the fee-related changes being proposed. SCC President Lee Lambert explained the approach by saying, “We wanted you to see what is being proposed and see if any of you have any heartburn before counting on it in the budget.”

 

Vice President for Academic Affairs John Backes said the deans and others, along with business office representatives, did an extensive review of all college fees paid by students. Backes noted that some fees went up, some down, some were eliminated and some consolidated.

 

Stuart Trippel, Acting Director, Financial Services, did a comparison analysis of four “typical” students as an illustration of the fee impacts.

 

For the resident transfer student example, Trippel said costs would go from $1,078.71 to $1,168.56, an 8.3 percent increase. The resident professional-technical student example showed a 1.8 percent decrease, from $1,112.79 to $1,092.99. The first quarter, non-resident, non-citizen student example saw a 6.6 percent increase, from $2,957.69 to $3,152.49. The resident eligible veteran student example showed a 9.2 percent increase, from $567.99 to $620.50.

 

The trustees expressed general concern about costs, but indicated they understood the nature of and need for the fee changes.

 

The student budget presentation was made by Minister of Finance Ursula Wright and most of the trustees’ questions revolved around two programs not funded: the college art gallery and the Spindrift literary magazine.

 

Money in the student budget comes from fees and Wright said the student budget committee was very focused on student money going to help students. Wright said the students started with a process to determine decision criteria and then applied those criteria to budget requests.

 

Regarding the art gallery, Wright said it should be exclusively student art and it should be in a location more visible to more students. The gallery is now in the Administration (1000) Building and some of the art comes from off-campus sources, she said.

 

As for Spindrift, Wright said students were again concerned that it didn’t contain exclusively student work. Students also questioned why the book’s purchase price doesn’t reflect the production costs.

 

Another arts-related reduction was in the budget line for the concert band. Wright said that students from the Center for Business and Continuing Education division are in the band and benefit from general student fees, but that CBCE students don’t pay those fees. A funding request for a band trip to British Columbia was denied, Wright said.

 

All is not lost for the unfunded programs, however. Wright noted that while those funds were not approved, that money wasn’t spent elsewhere. “We still have the money,” she said.

 

Lambert asked Wright if she felt student government would be willing to look at some sort of cooperative approach with the college and also noted a meeting between college officials, student government officers and faculty is tentatively scheduled for June 22. Wright said she thought the students would be open to discussion.

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