Legislature adjourns passing operating and capital budgets
The Legislature adjourned Sine Die Thursday, the 60th day of a 60-day session. They passed the operating budget — 54-44 in the House and 25-24 in the Senate — which they released Wednesday evening. The Legislature also finalized a capital budget — 96-2 in the House and 49-0 in the Senate.
Supplemental Operating Budget
The supplemental operating budget focused on adjusting the two-year operating budget to meet McCleary decision to fully fund K-12 education. Also included was a property tax break of 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed value starting in 2019.
For higher education, the budget begins taking steps to fully fund the State Need Grant by 2022-23. For this fiscal year, which begins July 1, the Legislature appropriated $18.5 million to reduce the State Need Grant's waiting list by about 4,600 students, about a quarter of the list. The budget assumes the waiting list will be reduced by another quarter in both 2019-20 and 2020-21 in order to meet the 2022-23 deadline.
For the community and technical college system, the supplemental operating budget maintained the way in which Running Start is funded. A Senate proposal would have decoupled the program's funding rate from the basic education funding rate. This would have resulted in about $16 million less coming to community and technical colleges next year and $31 million less in future years.
The budget did not include funding for student success measures like Guided Pathways. It also did not include the $9 million salary adjustment requested by the system to pay for salary increases authorized, but only partially funded, by the Legislature.
Other items affecting the community and technical college system are:
- To carry out Gold Star Family Stipends bill (HB 2009), $381,000 is provided in 2018-19 to provide annual stipends for textbooks.
- To carry out Native American Curriculum (SB 5028), $42,000 is provided to adjust teacher preparation program curricula.
- The Graham feasibility study is continued with $150,000 each year.
- Cascadia College is provided with $300,000 to convene a joint task force with the University of Washington Bothell biomedical industry cluster in Canyon Park to identify workforce development needs and assist with the city of Bothell's master planning process.
- Highline College is provided with $500,000 to implement the Federal Way Higher Education Initiative in partnership with the City of Federal Way and the University of Washington Tacoma campus. The initiative will develop educational programs for place-bound students in the Federal Way area.
- North Seattle College is provided with $216,000 in 2018-19 to support the continued operation of the Opportunity Center for Employment and Education.
- Peninsula College is provided with $350,000 in 2018-19 to increase enrollment in health care related workforce development programs.
- The Washington Labor Education Research Center at South Seattle College is provided with $338,000 in 2018-19.
Supplemental Capital Budget
The $2.72 billion supplemental capital budget, combined with the capital budget passed in January, fully funds the community and technical college system's capital budget request. It includes funding for inflation and local tax increases that arose because of the delay passing a capital budget during the 2017 legislative session. The budget also authorizes all locally-supported projects at colleges.