It appears that action in the Other Washington may stave off the need for $800,000 to $1 million in immediate budget cuts at Shoreline Community College.
“This looks like some good news, for now,” Shoreline Comm unity College President Lee Lambert said Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010. “Work remains to be done in Congress before this is finalized. However, this could ease one of the reasons Olympia warned all colleges two weeks ago to prepare for significant and immediate cuts.”
Lunch and a budget
SCC President Lee Lambert will host a brown-bag lunchtime discussion of budget issues, noon-1 p.m., Friday, Aug. 6, in the PUB Quiet Dining Room (9208).
The session will be Webcast via Elluminate at http://tinyurl.com/allcampusmeetings and keying in your name (you do not need a password). If you are new to Elluminate, please prepare by going to: http://www.shoreline.edu/elfaculty/elluminate.html. For assistance, contact the eLearning Helpline at ext. 6966. The session will not be recorded.
Session attendees are asked to be mindful of individuals with chemical sensitivities and abstain from wearing personal care products (including hair products, perfume or cologne) containing chemicals or fragrances.
The “this” Lambert referred to is a series of votes over two days in the U.S. Senate related to HR 1586. Now headed for the U.S. House, the bill has $16 billion to extend the Federal Medical Reimbursement Program, federal funding support to states for Medicaid expenditures. The bill also includes about $10 billion in support for K-12 teachers.
Washington state counted on the Medicaid portion of the extension when passing its most recent budget. Twenty-nine other states also counted on the extension. In July, Gov. Chris Gregoire said that without the extension, the state would lose about $480 million, and she was considering calling a special session of the Legislature to move ahead with needed budget cuts.
While no specific reduction number was given to Shoreline Community College in anticipation of those cuts, Lambert and college officials used previous reductions to estimate the school’s share at $800,000 to $1 million range. On July 26, Lambert said that cuts could come as soon as Aug. 31.
“It looks like that timeline is on hold for now,” Lambert said. “However, with all the uncertainty, I have asked the vice presidents to consider options should this all turn around again. It may still be prudent to hold back on some spending.”
While the federal action may be a short-term reprieve, all involved are warning there is still an ongoing economic crisis.
According to news reports, Gregoire said Wednesday morning that the state’s September and November revenue forecasts will be key. Recent monthly reports show revenue falling short of projected levels. Gregoire has said during recent public forums on the budget that she expects a $3 billion budget shortfall for 2011-13, deepening to as much as a $9 billion hole for the following biennium.
While welcoming Thursday’s news from D.C., Lambert said it just puts the college back on its previous budget-planning track. That process will start in September when the Strategic Planning and Budget Committee is scheduled to report on work done over the summer break.
“Hopefully, Congress is giving us some breathing room to consider these longer term issues,” Lambert said. “There’s no question in my mind that, given the depth of cuts the Governor is talking about, not just Shoreline but the entire college system will have to change in the coming years. I want Shoreline to have a hand in shaping that change.”