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* 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


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.


Thank you.


Charles N. Earl

Executive Director


1300 Quince Street SE

PO Box 42495

Olympia WA  98504-2495

360-704-4355 (Office)

360-704-4415 (Fax)

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