Tuesday, December 23, 2008
* Students take a break, but not the snow
Snow began falling the week after finals finished and in very unsusual weather for the Puget Sound region, just didn't seem to want to stop.
While official records are spotty,
December, 2008, likely takes top spot for the most sustained snowy period im memory. Snow and icy conditions forced the college to close all campuses and activities
Mike Paustain on the tractor, Dec. 23.
A small break in the flakes allowed faciltiies employees to get a very early start on Dec. 23, clearing walkways and plowing roads to allow a 10 a.m. late start on the day before Christmas Eve. Even with the great work, relatively few employees managed to get to work due to continued poor road conditions and limited transit service throughout the region.
With the prospect for more snow and a white Christmas, it looks like the prospect for more weather-related schedule changes is good.
Here's a link to photos taken on the main campus, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2008.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
* State Board Looks at Proposed Budget
Chris Reykdal of the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges has started the analysis of Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed budgets for the balance of this budget year as well as the coming 2009-11 biennium. Gregoire presented her budgets on Thursday, Dec. 18. Here is a synopsis of Reykdal’s comments:
"I want to highlight the following statement that is included in the Governor’s Higher Education Summary: “The lower rate of reduction for the community and technical colleges is in recognition of their unique mission in job training and skills development essential to the state’s economic recovery.”
"We should all be very proud to work for a system whose work not only improves the lives of individuals but is recognized as a substantial contributor to the State’s economic vitality.
"We will need several more days to gather further detail and ask our follow-up questions of the staff at the state Office of Financial Management. We will provide further guidance as we learn more.
Deputy Executive Director – Finance
Supplemental (current year) budget
A $32.1 million reduction for the remainder of the current year, which is approximately 4.3 percent, instead of the anticipated 4.1 percent cut. An additional $1.6 million was cut in self-insurance savings. The revised 4.3 percent reduction level is expected to enable a financial emergency declaration. Such a declaration is subject to: 1) the legislature passing the Governor’s supplemental budget recommendations without change, and 2) State Board action.
- Tuition remains unchanged
- Enrollment targets remain unchanged
- Provisos remain the same with one exception. The Governor’s proposal collapses all of the separate high-demand enrollment provisos into a single high-demand proviso. Therefore, the system would report a single high-demand enrollment number at the end of the current academic year.
Proposed 2009-11 Operating Budget
A $100 million reduction off of the maintenance level. This cut includes the reductions already taken during the current year (the newly revised $32.1 million). This means that the current year cut ($32.1 million) is permanent in each of the next two years ($64.2 million for the biennium). Therefore, the CTC system is being asked to cut an additional $35.8 million for the next biennium. The total system cut (not including tuition revenue increases) is approximately 6.5 percent.
- Tuition increases for resident undergraduate students are limited to 5 percent in the first year and another 5 percent increase in the second year. The SBCTC and university regents would continue to be able to set tuition on all other categories of students.
· With tuition yields added back for the system, our net cut for the 2009-11 biennium is calculated at 4.3 percent.
- No fee increases are proposed.
- Enrollment targets remain the same next biennium, 139,237.
- Only three legislative provisos remain next biennium: Worker Retraining, Job Skills and a new $3.5 million for the student achievement initiative.
- Higher health-benefit costs are fully funded, based on existing agreements. Employees will continue to pay 12 percent and the employer will pay 88 perent of the cost on average.
- Retirement contributions from the employer are reduced based on actuarial estimates. Questions about this will be posed to OFM staff.
- $1.5 million is added to last session’s Health Care Career Advancement effort. This is described in a budget note from OFM staff but not contained in a budget proviso.
- No salary increases are provided to any employee groups.
Please see the attached fiscal year summary for more details on the 2009-11 operating budget proposal.
Proposed 2009-11 Capital Budget
A $477.3 million total, from a combination of appropriated bond funds, certificates of participation and tuition building fees. The capital budget was made possible by some large-scale changes, including:
- Assuming the repeal of the statutory debt limit and moving to the constitutional debt limit (9 pecent max);
- Pushing the unofficial working debt limit from 8.5 percent to 8.75 percent;
- Expand general state revenues to include several previously dedicated accounts that hadn’t considered part of the base when calculating the debt limit. With the inclusion of these accounts, the bond availability increased from $1.6 billion to $2.2 billion for state capital projects.
- Assumptions about lower interest rates in the future.
The capital budget includes:
- Bond funds proposed at $353.4 million, a reduction from $438.5 million in the current biennium. The CTCs would get 50 percent of all bonds authorized for higher education. Another $109.8 million is provided as alternative financing (COP funding) against the Building Fee Account – this includes all four of the major growth projects that are scheduled for construction in the 2009-11 biennium.
- $22.8 million for maintenance and operations now funded with taxable bonds instead of cash sources. These M&O funds are separate from the $477.3 million project list.
- All of the college specific COPs proposed by the CTC system are provided for in the Governor’s budget.
- A few projects were spread across several biennia or delayed.
- Several adjustments were made in project costs by the OFM analysts based on their review of project estimates.
- OFM removed funding for the Repairs B category.
See the attached Governor Proposed capital project list for more details.
- University budgets are reduced by 13 percent on average for the 2009-11 biennium (approximately 6 percent after tuition revenue is factored in).
- University tuition increase for resident undergraduate is assumed to increase by 7 percent in the first year of the biennium and another 7 percent in the second year. These are also used for the upper division CTC applied baccalaureate degree programs.
- State Need Grant is increased commensurate with tuition assumptions, but the eligibility threshold has been reduced from 70 percent to 65 percent of Median Family. There are additional “step” reductions for families with Median Family Incomes from 50-64 percent
Reduction percentages in other state appropriations
- K-12 – 5.6 percent
- Public Safety – 6.3 percent
- Early Learning – 6.4 percent
- Health Care and Human Services – 12.2 percent
- Natural Resources – 12.2 percent
- No statewide salary increase for any employee groups
- I-728 class size reduction funds in the K-12 system are cut back by 24 percent for the 2009-11 biennium.
For further detail about the Governor’s proposed budgets please use the following link: http://www.ofm.wa.gov/budget09/highlights/highlights.pdf (summary document)
http://ofm.wa.gov/budget09/ (Agency details)
Gregoire Proposes 6 Percent Cut
Gov. Chris Gregoire, today, Dec. 18, unveiled her proposed budget for the 2009-11 biennium and while Shoreline Community College and the state’s other community and technical colleges would see cuts, they are not nearly as deep as feared.
In announcing a reduction of 6 percent for all CTC’s, Gregoire acknowledged the critical role community and technical colleges do and will play in helping the state recover from the current financial crisis. Gregoire also announced cuts of 13 percent for the state’s four-year institutions. She said CTC’s were spared a harder hit because their budgets have less room to cut before impacting people.
While 6 percent is difficult, all community colleges had been told earlier this fall to begin planning on cutting 20 percent from their budgets for the coming two-year funding cycle.
“While not qualifying as good news, this budget not as bad as we were anticipating,” SCC President Lee Lambert said Thursday. “Gov.Gregoire also clearly acknowledged what we know, that community colleges are key in getting this state back on its feet.”
State Board of Community and Technical Colleges Executive Director Charlie Earl said Wednesday, before the Governor’s budget was announced, that he and state board staff would have some initial assessment of the budget impact to colleges by the end of today, Thursday, Dec. 18.
“A lot of work went into determining what a 20 percent cut might do to our college,” Lambert said. “Clearly, we’ll give the same care to examining the implications of a 6 percent reduction.”
Gregoire also proposed a supplemental budget for the balance of the current biennium, which ends June 30, 2009. As anticipated by Shoreline, it calls for a 4.1 percent cut in remaining spending.
Gregoire’s proposals will now go to the Legislature, which convenes Jan. 12, 2009. The Legislature is responsible for passing a supplemental and biennial budget that the Governor then would sign.
Below is an e-mail Gov. Gregoire sent to all state employees:
From: Governor Christine Gregoire [mailto:Governor.ChristineGregoire@GOVERNOR.WA.GOV]
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 9:40 AM
Subject: My Proposed Budget
Dear Fellow State Employee:
Today, I released my two-year budget proposal to the 2009 State Legislature. I advocated that we tighten our belts just like Washington families and businesses are doing. I did this for one simple reason: we must.
Like 42 other states, our state is in uncharted financial territory. We are all living the consequences of a very recent economic meltdown that began in the mismanaged credit markets and spread throughout the nation’s economy.
We took responsible steps to address economic challenges before they were evident. In 2007, I proposed and the voters passed a constitutionally protected “rainy day fund” to help us prepare for future downturns. We immediately began putting money in this account, which now sits at just under $430 million. We also left one of the largest budget surpluses in state history at the end of the last legislative session.
Then, starting last summer, I asked for a hiring freeze, belt-tightening and other steps throughout state government to cut costs and position us better for the new two-year budget. You stepped up, and the hard work we did together eased the budget problem we now face. I appreciate your attention and your ideas on how to make government work better. Please keep those ideas coming.
But even the best economists failed to predict the severity of this downturn. The fact is, this is no ordinary recession. Its impacts have swamped our budget, leaving us with a budget shortfall of $5.7 billion for the 2009–11 budget. The shortfall is a little more than the entire budgets for higher education and the Department of Corrections combined.
Consider the difficulty of our problem: Sixty percent of the budget comprises items we are required to fund, such as basic education, federally mandated Medicaid, pensions and debt service. This forces us to make up that $5.7 billion through cuts in the remaining 40 percent.
In writing this budget, we began with a basic premise: now is not the time to be raising taxes on our residents and businesses. These are hard times for everyone. Our families are struggling. The state must squeeze every ounce of value out of every taxpayer dollar while maintaining our priorities of protecting families and kids the best we can.
That means tough decisions. One of them was to put your raises on hold, along with those of our school teachers and some of our care workers. We really had no choice. The cost of these salary increases would be about $678 million over the next two years. Collective bargaining agreements were finished by October 1. Then on November 18, our budget deficit grew by $1.9 billion. We looked hard at whether we could afford increases during these difficult times, and saw we could not.
This decision was not easy. I know how hard our state employees work. You bring to your jobs every day not only value, but a high calling — a commitment to public service. I am pleased to tell you that we still are able to honor our commitment to you and your families by maintaining the health care benefits you now have and certainly deserve.
By forgoing the raises, you are sharing in the sacrifice. You are protecting jobs and helping us maintain our priorities of protecting families and children the best we can. You are helping to protect abused children. You are making sure poor kids have health care. You are providing the capacity for more students to attend our colleges and universities.
Please know that we are still preparing 8,000 low-income children for school through early childhood education because it is the best investment we can make for their future. We are still educating 1 million students in grades K-12 because education is the foundation for their future. We are still providing higher education and job training for 300,000 people because that’s our economic future. We are still ensuring that more than 650,000 kids receive health care. We are still keeping our communities safe. We are still serving our seniors and vulnerable individuals. We are still moving forward on protecting our environment, particularly Puget Sound. These investments keep us true to my primary values and will keep our state moving forward.
Now is the time for us all to work together — hardworking state employees, Democrats and Republicans, all levels of government and all Washingtonians — to help find the right solutions. We are up to this challenge. And if we show innovation, wisdom and courage, we will emerge stronger for it.
I encourage you to visit the budget page on my Web site featuring information on Washington’s fiscal condition, efforts undertaken to control state spending, frequently asked questions, budget highlights and, in January, a budget calculator so you can create your own proposal to balance the budget.
For more information on my proposed budget, visit http://www.governor.wa.gov/priorities/%20budget/
The budget documents are available at
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
* Gregoire to Announce Budget Plan
Gov. Chris Gregoire is scheduled to announce two state budgets at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 18, in Olympia.
|See it live|
Gov. Chris Gregoire's budget proposal will be carried live at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 18 and again at noon, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on TVW, the state cable channel
Gregoire can also be seen live discussing her proposed budget with the Seattle Times editorial board at 2:30 p.m., Thursday, at http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/
The first will be for a supplemental budget, a plan that would get the state from Jan. 1-June 30, 2009. That proposal is expected mean a $1.044 million reduction in spending for Shoreline Community College during that time period.
The second proposal will be her plan for the following two years, a biennial budget that is expected to assume a projected revenue shortfall for the state of $5-6 billion. While the details have not been made public, Gregoire, through the state Office of Financial Management, suggested that state colleges and universities should plan for 20 percent cuts in each of the budget’s two years.
Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert and other college officials anticipated the first budget cut and are prepared to implement the plan. Lambert has said that reduction plan would not mean any layoffs of college employees.
College officials and employees are working on a plan for the second, larger reduction. Lambert’s senior executive team is working with the college budget committee and others to craft a budget that would achieve the 20 percent target, a total of about $5 million, should it become necessary. Lambert has said that such deep cuts would require layoffs, which could be announced by March 8. Those layoffs would not likely become effective immediately, due to contract and other considerations, but would need to be in place by July 1, 2009 to hit the targeted number. Lambert has said that delaying layoffs might mean even deeper cuts later.
On Tuesday, Charlie Earl, Executive Director of the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges issued the following memo to all colleges:
TO: Community and Technical Colleges
FROM: Charlie Earl
DATE: December 16, 2008
SUBJECT: State Budget Update
Business slowdowns, declining home prices, falling retail sales, and rising unemployment reduce every major tax source that supports state government. The state is facing a staggering $5 to $6 billion deficit in the 2009-11 biennium. The Governor and her team have taken immediate action to lessen the burden of budget cuts for next biennium by slowing down spending in the current fiscal year (FY2009). The community and technical college system has been asked to reduce current year spending from state funds by 4.1 percent. With growing fears about even deeper cuts next biennium (starting on July 1, 2009), many of us are concerned about our communities, our colleges, and financial security.
The State Board members and staff, in concert with college leadership, are working on several strategies to ease some of the burden as local colleges make very difficult decisions. These efforts include:
1) Persistently discussing with the Governor, her staff, and the Legislature the unique role our system plays in developing a well-trained workforce. The message continues to be, “Don’t starve the solution.” Our system promotes economic stability by:
· Retraining laid-off workers.
· Graduating certificate and degree earners in every community to fill high-demand, high-wage jobs. Even in this economy critical jobs go unfilled!
· Offering additional training to tens of thousands of people who still have jobs but require additional knowledge, skills, and abilities demanded by rapidly changing employer needs.
· Providing the first two years of higher education for over 40 percent our state’s bachelor’s degree graduates.
2) Working with state and national leaders to protect current two-year college funding as much as possible and pursuing federal resources that contribute to economic stimulus, such as capital projects and workforce training programs.
3) Identifying budget earmarks and legislative provisos that can be eliminated to enhance college flexibility.
4) Reviewing SBCTC enrollment rules to create as much access for students as possible while maintaining the high quality of instruction and services the colleges provide.
5) Analyzing revenue options to include higher tuition rates and adequate financial aid for needy students.
The State Board and staff are also working with a set of basic principles to guide decision making.
- The short-term crisis will not deter the college system from making progress on the long-term goals of the System Direction:
- Economic Demand – Strengthen state and local economies by meeting the demands for a well educated and skilled workforce.
- Student Success – Increase educational attainment for all residents across the state.
- Twenty-first Century Learning Environment – Use technology, collaboration, and innovation to meet the demands of the economy and improve student success.
- Colleges will make local decisions that are most appropriate for their students, communities, and campuses in the context of long-term system goals.
- The State Board will continue to analyze the two-year college system’s structure, educational delivery, and effectiveness.
State Board staff will provide updates to the colleges following key milestones in the budget and policy development process:
- December 18 - The Governor will announce her supplemental and biennium budgets. Her budgets will be a good indication of what the Legislature has to work with as it begins its work in January.
- January 12 - The Legislature will convene. We are encouraging the Legislature to pass a supplemental budget quickly to give our system more time to react to budget cuts. The supplemental budget passed by the Legislature will guide efforts to reduce spending.
- March 16 - Another revenue forecast will be released which will greatly affect the budget decisions of the Legislature. State Board Staff will be communicating with the budget committee chairs and staff, as well as OFM, to stay on top of potential funding cuts to our system.
- April - The Legislature is expected to pass the 2009-11 budget no earlier than mid-April. The budget may not be finalized until late June if the Legislature needs additional time. Once the budget is passed, we will know exactly the level of cuts that will impact the college system.
College employees are encouraged to work with their college president and administrators. Each campus will respond to potential budget cuts in a different way to serve their unique community. The college presidents will receive timely and accurate information from our office.
I wish you the very best New Year. I assure you, on behalf of the State Board and our staff, that in the coming legislative session we will work tirelessly to protect our college system’s core mission of open access and high quality. In doing so, we will honor your work and commitment to the nearly 500,000 students served every year.
Please share this message across your campuses.
Charles N. Earl
STATE BOARD FOR COMMUNITY & TECHNICAL COLLEGES
1300 Quince Street SE
PO Box 42495
Olympia WA 98504-2495
Monday, December 08, 2008
All-Campus Meeting Focuses on Budget
If the deepening economic crisis forces layoffs at Shoreline Community College, employees could start being notified as soon as the week of March 8, 2009.
More than 300 Shoreline Community College employees filled the Pagoda Union Building Main Dining Room on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008, to hear that news and more from SCC President Lee Lambert and other members of the college administration.
“Why the aggressive posture,” Lambert asked rhetorically. “Our students deserve to know what kind of college we will be, what kind of schedule, classes and programs we will offer.”
Lambert outlined the factors contributing to the uncertainty that faces SCC and all state-supported colleges.
Lambert reminded those attending the all-campus meeting that the state Office of Financial Management, at the behest of Gov. Chris Gregoire, asked all community and technical colleges to plan for a 20 percent cut in the budget that will start July 1, 2009. “But for those cuts to be effective July 1, we will have to start now,” he said. “We will work the classified union, we will work with the faculty union.
“If we wait and make cuts after July 1, they would just be deeper.”
There are other factors to consider, too, Lambert said. The Board of Trustees is scheduled to decide on sabbatical requests in February and tenure awards in March. “They’ll want to know what the plan is before deciding,” he said. Other issues such as course listing in college catalogs and class schedules must be addressed well before July 1, Lambert told the gathering.
Lambert said the March 8 date for potentially starting a layoff-notice process is as soon as it could be done and still allow for process, discussion and campus involvement. He said the tentative timeline is:
?Dec. 8-31, 2008: Feedback from campus and constituencies
?Jan. 1-16, 2009: SET creates a budget reduction draft for 2009-01
?Jan. 20-30: Meetings with PSET, SBCTC staff to discuss draft
?Feb. 2-16: Meetings with unions, Student Government and Budget Committee
?Feb. 17-27: All Campus Meeting, private meetings with affected individuals; meetings with the Board of Trustees
?March 8: Implementation could begin
Lambert had to leave before the meeting ended to huddle with his peers from Everett, Edmonds, Cascadia, Lake Washington, Bellevue and Renton community colleges. One of the items that would likely come up at that meeting, he said, was the topic of cross-campus cooperation, collaboration and mergers.
“Last week, I received a call from Charlie Earl (SBCTC executive director) that (mergers) certainly could be a consideration,” Lambert said. “It’s all about what? Service, access and affordability to students.”
Lambert also said that he and SCC Board of Trustees Chair Shoubee Liaw will meet later this week with Earl in Olympia and that all the presidents are scheduled to meet in Tacoma on Friday, Dec. 12.
“As I know more and am in a position to share, I will share,” Lambert said.
Vice President of Administrative Services Daryl Campbell reviewed the more immediate budget problem facing the college, cutting a state-mandated $1.044 million from the current year budget.
Campbell presented slides showing generally where the cuts will come with lapsed salaries from unfilled positions saving $583,000, transferring fund from state to local funding finding $117,000, the president’s discretionary fund and other PSET funds contribute $200,000 and the final $350,000 coming from a 20 percent across-the-board reduction in goods and services, travel, and hourly employees.
Campbell noted two factors in the across-the-board reductions. First, they are reductions not freezes and, second, they are aimed at what remains of budget lines with discretion available to directors on how to achieve the needed savings.
While there are a number of communication avenues for the campus community to give feedback, Jim Hills, interim special assistant to president for communication and marketing, said the college will solicit feedback in other ways, too.
Hills said a page on college Budget Committee’s site on the college intranet has a form for anonymous comments and feedback. In addition, old-fashioned suggestion boxes will be placed around the campus to gather comments. Both the Web page and suggestion boxes will include “decision points” approved by the Budget Committee and the administration to offer guidance for comments.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
* Trustees Hear Budget Information
Broad numbers comparing education-delivery costs at Shoreline Community College with those at three similarly sized Puget Sound-area schools indicate SCC may be more frugal in some areas and less so in others.
Vice President for Administrative Services Daryl Campbell and Special Assistant to the President for Budget and Internal Control Holly Woodmansee presented the numbers at the Dec. 3, 2008 regular meeting of the Board of Trustees. The numbers compared Shoreline with Edmonds, Everett and Green River community colleges. Also included were averages for the three comparison schools and the state system averages. All the numbers were for the 2006-07 fiscal year.
Woodmansee urged caution in depending too much on the numbers that look at expenses in six broad areas. “We don’t know all the variables,” Woodmansee said, referring to differences in the way schools may categorize some expenses. “Not apples and apples, it may be oranges or pears.”
Campbell added: “We’re not prepared to rely wholly on these numbers when making budget decisions.” Still, Woodmansee said, the information is a starting point in understanding and comparing basic cost levels.
SCC appears to spend 29-37 percent more than the system and comparison group on student services. At the same time, SCC’s costs in the institutional support category were 13-18 percent less than the system and comparison group. Instruction related costs were relatively on par with the system and schools’ numbers.
Comparing total faculty costs, SCC’s numbers look to be about 14 percent above the comparison schools. Applying those costs to student numbers, SCC is about 10 percent above the other schools’ average.
The same comparison of total classified employee cost shows Shoreline 14 below the other schools and 8 percent below when applied to number of students served.
Campbell pointed out an anomaly in the administration cost numbers. While average cost per administrative position was higher by 15 percent, the cost per student FTE was lower by more than a third. The difference, Campbell said, indicates that the other schools have more administrative positions per student FTE.
“Are these the right comparisons? We don’t know that and we can’t really go forward without knowing,” Campbell said. “We do know that Shoreline spent about $1.4 million more to serve the same number of students (as the comparison schools).”
Trustees said they appreciated seeing the numbers and offered support for Shoreline programs and employees.
“I know we have some very expensive professional-technical programs,” Board chair Shoubee Liaw said. “But, we also need to look at (the economic benefit).”
The newest trustee, Jerry Smith, asked a rhetorical question. “Do you really want the lowest priced person you can get, the lowest priced person teaching you?” Smith said. “There’s a case to be made (against mediocrity) but you have to make the case.”
Later in the meeting, SCC President Lee Lambert listed next steps for budget-related issues anticipated in the coming week.
Lambert said he’ll meet with student government leaders on Friday, Dec. 5, to discuss the implications of potential cuts. On Monday, Dec. 8, an all-campus meeting is scheduled for 12:30-2 p.m. in the PUB Main Dining Room. However, Lambert said he’ll make his comments and then leave early for a meeting with the so-called Sno-King presidents (Renton, Bellevue Lake Washington, Cascadia, Edmonds, Everett and Shoreline). Also next week, Lambert said he and Board chair Liaw will travel to Olympia to meet with SBCTC Executive Director Charlie Earl. And, all presidents are schedule to convene on Dec. 12, he said.
Liaw said she’s looking forward to the meeting with Earl.
“We’re not going there with our hands out, a tin cup,” Liaw said. “One word I hear from Olympia is ‘Bold,’ have some bold ideas. When Lee and I go to see Charlie, we’re going with bold ideas. So the Governor sits back and says, ‘Shoreline has put their heads together to find good, bold ideas.”