Sunday, July 05, 2009
* State orders more cuts for colleges
The state’s community and technical colleges will join the rest of state government in another round of budget cuts.
Shoreline Community College’s target number, along with those of every other college in the state was outlined along with a Thursday, July 2, e-mail from Charlie Earl, Executive Director of the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges.
“This isn’t welcome news, but it also isn’t a surprise,” SCC President Lee Lambert said. “Even as we were making the painful cuts for the budget approved by the trustees in June, we said there may be the need for more.”
In his e-mail Earl wrote: “State revenues have fallen by approximately $500 million, eating through the state’s unrestricted ending balance and leaving the state general fund almost $200 million in the red. The Governor is reducing state spending beyond the cuts already levied to state government as a first step in addressing this financial deterioration.”
In June and just a month after signing the state budget for the next two years, Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered all state agencies to make an additional 2 percent cut in personnel and other costs. Earl said the SBCTC would follow suit by cutting 2 percent.
“The community and technical college system's share of the cut is $13.526 million for the 2009-11 biennium,” Earl said. “Therefore, we are planning to reduce colleges’ allocations for FY2010 by a total of $6.763 million. By making a permanent cut in the first year, we will carry it forward next year to achieve our total biennial target of $13.526 million.”
Shoreline’s portion of that total is $229,542 for the coming year, according to a memo from Victor Moore, director of the state Office of Financial Management.
Lambert said just how and where Shoreline would make those cuts have not yet been decided. “We did anticipate this, and Vice President for Administrative Services Daryl Campbell and the rest of (the President’s Senior executive Team) will be looking for the least disruptive ways to meet our state-mandated goal.”
Lambert said the reductions are deemed permanent, and that state officials have cautioned against using temporary, or one-time strategies to make the cuts. If there is a bright side, Lambert said it’s that state official have indicated colleges will have more flexibility in deciding at the local level how to reach their targeted reductions.
In his e-mail Earl said: “With the exception of salary increases (legislatively frozen until next February), colleges retain the flexibility to spend as they choose, consistent with the state allocation requirements.” Earl added that colleges won’t be expected to seek any permissions or exemptions in fulfilling local obligations.
Despite the cuts made this past fiscal year and the new additional 2 percent reduction, Earl warned there might be more to come. “Victor Moore’s letter makes a strong point that the budget situation is likely to deteriorate further before any measurable improvement,” Earl wrote. “The September revenue forecast will be pivotal in determining next steps for the Governor and the Legislature.”