With the timeline for state-level budget decisions growing shorter, Shoreline Community College is preparing for a range of potential outcomes.
“We don’t know what the Legislature will decide to do, but we do know that when they choose, we’ll have to react quickly,” Shoreline President Lee Lambert said. “There have been a range of reductions talked about in the news; from the governor’s announcement of a 23 percent average cut to others saying it could be more than 30 percent.
“Any cut of that magnitude is devastating, but that spread is huge and the details of the impacts, obviously, depend on the final decision that comes out of Olympia.”
Lambert said the college needs to prepare a range of responses and have them ready in very short order.
“I’ve asked for three reduction scenarios; 20, 25 and 30 percent,” Lambert said. “Also, this has to be done quickly. I want representation from across campus, but we just don’t have time for our normal processes in these extraordinary times.”
Working with his senior executive team, Lambert has named a Budget Reduction Scenario Team that will be charged with recommending the three reduction strategies. Those recommendations would go back to Lambert and the Senior Executive Team. And the deadline? Nov. 18.
“I realize that is a very short timeline, but if the Legislature calls for immediate reductions, we need to be prepared to act,” Lambert said.
Members of the Budget Reduction Scenario Team are: Daryl Campbell, John Backes, Holly Woodmansee, Gillian Lewis, Mary Bonar, Amy Kinsel, Karen Kreutzer, Molly Morse and Guy Hamilton. Campbell will act as team coordinator.
“It will require focused work, but I think we can meet President Lambert’s goal,” Campbell said, adding that meetings have already been scheduled. “Everyone named to the team understands the level of commitment and agreed to fully participate. I’m very grateful.”
Lambert noted that the scenarios are recommendations on what might be cut at the three reduction levels, not necessarily how those cuts might be achieved.
“We expect the cuts to be big, but we just don’t know yet how the Legislature or State Board will ask us and the other colleges to implement those cuts,” Lambert said. “Those details could make a very big difference on how we approach any reductions. Under those conditions, it just isn’t fair or efficient to ask this group to speculate on how to cut.”
Another variable is non-state revenue.
In September, Lambert told the campus that the college is moving ahead with three strategic initiatives: building out a virtual college, expanding International education and increasing partnerships.
“Those are still the strategies for offsetting the loss of state dollars,” Lambert said. “We’re making tremendous progress in all three areas, but the state cuts just keep coming, faster and deeper each time.“