Dear Campus Community:
Governor Gregoire released her budget Tuesday, December 18, and although the budget proposal maintains higher education funding at its current level, the budget continues to present some issues for the institution. The university continues to grow, therefore, a flat budget continues to degrade services to an increasing number of students.
The good news is that our classified bargaining agreement was found financially feasible, but EWU is required to self-fund the one percent annual salary increases through a restoration of the three percent salary reduction we took in 2011-13. Eastern will also have access to an $11 million pool to expand STEM enrollments over the next two years. The Governor’s budget also includes $35 million for College Bound scholarships.
Although this budget is a good start, it is predicated on a number of revenue packages to sustain funding. Without additional revenue, higher education could be facing a $52 million reduction.
Governor Gregoire’s budget recommends a zero percent increase in tuition, which is a change from the legislation passed last biennium.
As we predicted, the capital budgets for higher education were dramatically smaller than historical levels. Eastern received funding for our highly critical water project and a small amount of predesign funding for a first phase of a new science building (Science II). We did not receive any funding for design of the Science I Building and very little other funding. We are greatly concerned about the ability to move the institution forward with these budget recommendations, especially given the demand for more graduates in high demand areas.
There will be at least three other budgets released throughout the legislative session which begins January 14: the House, the Senate and Governor-elect Inslee.
We will continue to keep the campus updated as the session evolves.
Rodolfo Arévalo, PhD