April 15, 2011 Budget Update

Legislative Budget Proposal Update

Campus forums set for April 20 and 25

The Washington House and Senate released their budget proposals for the 2011-13 biennium (House, Senate). Julie Garver, our Director of Government Relations, has provided a brief overview of the impacts of each proposal on higher education, and Evergreen in particular, on the college's Government Relations blog. The House proposal would cut higher education by $482 million. The Senate proposal would cut $617.5 million. Julie has also provided a summary of the similarities and differences (PDF) between the two proposals.

While I encourage you to learn more on the Government Relations blog and our budget Web site (which includes an updated FAQ), here are a few key points:

Impacts on Evergreen

House Senate
Current Biennial Budget
State Funds 50,642,000 50,642,000
Student Tuition Collections 54,274,000 54,274,000
Total Operating Budget 104,916,000 104,916,000
Total State Fund Reductions (15,591,000) (14,278,000)
% Reduction in State Support -31% -28%
Increased Revenue from Tuition Increases
House 11.5% Tuition Increase Level 7,314,000
Senate 14% Tuition Increase Level 8,494,000
Proposed 2011-13 Budget
State Funds 35,051,000 36,364,000
Student Tuition Collections 61,588,000 62,768,000
Total Proposed 2011-13 Operating Budget 96,639,000 99,132,000
Net Budget Operating Budget Reduction (8,277,000) (5,784,000)
Total Net Budget Reduction -7.90% -5.50%

Both proposals include capital funding for the Com Building and Lab I, 2nd floor renovations. Both proposals would also have significant impacts on college employees including 3% wage reductions across all employee categories, additional furlough days for some employee groups, reductions in retirement contributions for some employee groups, and increases in employee contributions to health insurance premiums.

Our assumption is that the final budget will likely land somewhere between these two proposals. There are also some policy bills under consideration that may further alter reduction impacts, accountability expectations, and student tuition mitigation levels.

We have two budget-related forums scheduled to share the latest news on the legislative budget and answer questions. The first is a budget discussion, primarily for students. It will take place Wednesday, April 20 from 3:30-5 p.m. in Seminar II, D1107. The second, a campus-wide town hall, is set for Monday, April 25 from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Communications Building Recital Hall.

As I noted in early April, I have asked the vice presidents to work on budget scenarios for cuts of up to 7.5%. The latest legislative proposals suggest that these scenarios will be sufficient to meet our immediate budget challenges. In addition to developing budget cut scenarios, I am working with the vice presidents to identify key strategic areas that require additional investment (for instance, the Remodeling Teaching and Learning at Evergreen DTF proposals) and to develop strategies for making good use of the one-time reserve resources that we hope to have available. It will not be possible to finish this work until the legislature arrives at a final budget. Although the legislature is scheduled to adjourn on April 24, it is widely believed that the budgets will not be settled by then, so that a special legislative session will be necessary. When the vice presidents, working within their divisions, are able to complete their scenario planning, we will schedule additional budget forums to share those proposals and hear feedback.

I wish we had more specific information to share at this time, but this is an extraordinary and complex legislative session with many moving parts and much uncertainty. Although it is clear that we will experience a budget cut, increased tuition, and adverse impacts on employee compensation, the final details in the legislative budget will be important to understanding how we experience these changes. The college, its unions, and the Washington Student Association continue to vigorously advance our shared interests. We will continue to keep you posted, via our Government Relations blog and our budget Web site, as we learn more.

— Les Purce