Budget proposals released, Senate honors Yoshiwara, session passes another cutoff
Following last week's strong state revenue forecast announcement, House and Senate budget writers Monday released their versions of the supplemental operating budget. The House also released its version of the capital budget.
The Senate honored Jan Yoshiwara on Tuesday with a resolution ahead of her July 31 retirement, thanking her for her 44 years of service to the community and technical college system.
In the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, senators heard bills on hazing prevention and increasing retail-related education and training opportunities.
Session reached its second policy committee cutoff deadline yesterday, when bills needed to be voted out of policy committees in order to continue in the legislative process. House and Senate fiscal committees will work today and tomorrow hearing the fiscal impacts of bills ahead of Monday's fiscal committee cutoff.
House, Senate release operating budget proposals, House issues capital budget proposal
The House and Senate operating budget writers on Monday released their budget proposals, with the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Ways and Means Committee taking testimony on them that afternoon. The House also on Monday issued its version of the capital budget, holding a hearing for it Tuesday afternoon. Senate capital budget writers released their version last week.
Operating budget proposals
For the community and technical college system, both budgets include funding for:
- Cybersecurity workforce ($7.2 million)
- Assistance for homeless students ($2.9 million)
- Financial aid outreach with community based organizations ($2.7 million)
- Afghan refugee education ($3.1 million)
- Health care simulation lab equipment ($5.8 million)
- Health care workforce Opportunity Grants ($8 million)
- Commercial Driver’s License training ($5 million in the House budget, $3.8 million in the Senate budget)
The House version includes $1.5 million for integrating climate solutions into curriculum. The Senate version includes $3.8 million for nursing education and $1.5 million for outreach specialists, part of 2SHB 1835, "Creating outreach and completion initiatives to increase postsecondary enrollment."
Neither budget contributes funding for additional financial aid staff at colleges.
Both budgets include cost of living salary increases for faculty and staff, with the state contributing 85% and colleges picking up the remaining 15%.
Cybersecurity, financial aid access and support, integrating climate solutions into curriculum, expanding homeless student assistance and refugee education are budget items requested by the college system.
Choi Halladay, deputy executive director for business operations at the State Board, Christine Johnson, chancellor of the Community Colleges of Spokane and WACTC president, testified before the House Appropriations Committee. Cherie Berthon, operating budget director at the State Board, and Marty Cavalluzzi, president of Olympic College, testified before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Thanking the committee for its support of the college system, specifically for financial aid outreach and assistance for students experiencing homelessness, Halladay asked members to include funding the system’s climate solutions request.
“For the critical issue of climate change, we ask that you consider funding our proposed investments to help integrate climate science across a variety of educational programs in our system," he said.
Johnson thanked the committee, emphasizing the proposed salary increases.
“We could not serve our students without our talented and hardworking faculty and staff. It is increasingly difficult to retain them in the current economy, and there is a lot of movement to jobs outside of our system” she said. “The wage increases in this budget are a great start, and we look forward to continuing to work with you in the next biennium.”
In similar testimony before the Ways and Means Committee, Berthon and Cavalluzzi thanked the Senate for its support of the college system.
“Expanding financial aid outreach and the pilot to serve students experiencing homelessness will help more people gain the skills and the knowledge they need to start solid careers and experience financial security,” Berthon said.
Cavalluzzi told the committee that funding will help students and, ultimately, the state.
“The expansion of enrollments in cybersecurity programs and commercial driver's license training will help not just our students but the state's economy,” he said. “Thank you for increasing educational opportunities for Afghan refugees who have so much to offer our state culturally and economically.”
The Appropriations Committee and the Ways and Means Committee voted the bills out of their committees on Wednesday. They now go to the full House and the full Senate for consideration.
Capital budget proposal
After releasing its version of the capital budget on Monday, the House Capital Budget Committee took it up at its hearing Tuesday. For the college system, the proposal fully funds an asbestos mitigation project at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom and provides $13.8 million in minor works infrastructure funding. The college system requested $27 million for minor works infrastructure funding in its capital budget request. The Senate proposal provides $5 million in minor works infrastructure funding.
“We are concerned that our request to replace the system’s oldest infrastructure is not fully funded but appreciate the progress that can be made with this proposal,” Wayne Doty, capital budget director at the State Board, said.
Doty asked the committee to support the Senate’s proposal that would require the college system to submit requests for design and construction funding at the same time instead of in separate biennial budgets, as is done now.
Julie White, president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, thanked the committee for funding the mitigation project at Pierce Fort Steilacoom’s Olympic South building, emphasizing the systemwide need for infrastructure improvements.
“The partial funding of the infrastructure replacement minor works list does not include 50-year-old sewer and water lines on my campus, which are at the end of their expected useful lifespan. They will cause major disruptions to operations when they fail, and many other colleges face similar challenges,” she said.
The Capital Budget Committee voted the budget bill out of committee Thursday. It now heads to the full House for its consideration. The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted its version out of committee on Monday, with the full Senate unanimously passing it Wednesday.
Senate honors Jan Yoshiwara
Feb. 22 — The Senate on Tuesday honored Jan Yoshiwara, the State Board’s executive director, with a resolution recognizing her service to the community and technical college system. Yoshiwara will retire July 31.
Sen. Emily Randall, chair of the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, thanked Yoshiwara for her commitment to the system.
“Jan's work in expanding accessibility to higher education in Washington state colleges and universities was a product — as you heard in the resolution — of her passion and experience for civil rights and racial equity,” she said. “Community [and technical] colleges primarily serve first-generation students, people of color, folks from underrepresented backgrounds and low-income families, and that's why it's important that these students have the resources that they need to overcome institutional and systemic barriers in achieving higher education. Jan recognized that need, and she worked throughout her career as an advocate for these historically underrepresented students.”
Sen. Shelly Short, the Republican floor leader, also spoke in support.
“I love the work that is going on in our institutions of higher education — especially our community [and technical] college system — that become such important places for students to start their education, maybe finish their education. It is just tremendous that we have these opportunities for our students ,and people like Jan who have been so committed to making sure that students have access,” she said. “We know how important higher education in any form is as individuals hope to turn their own careers and their own lives in support of themselves and their families.”
Sen. Bob Hasegawa, the majority caucus chair, recognized Yoshiwara's social justice vision.
“She's been one of those powerhouse people that likes to work behind the scenes — works quietly — but when the opportunity opened itself, she was able to step up and fill that role as the top person at the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. [She] still operated very quietly but got so much work done,” he said.
Senate higher education committee hears anti-hazing, retail education bills
Feb. 23 — The Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee took up bills on hazing prevention and retail education and training at its hearing Tuesday. The hazing prevention bill, 2SHB 1751, would require colleges and universities to prohibit hazing on and off campus and maintain publicly available reports of hazing violations. It would also establish hazing prevention committees and provide hazing educational programs to students and employees.
“The innovation I have before you is working to find a solution on hazing on college campuses in Washington as well as addressing that through training and education both individually for those involved as well as institutional staff,” Rep. Mari Leavitt, the bill’s prime sponsor, said. “Addressing an anti-hazing solution is critical to our collectively held value of keeping our community safe.”
“Based on communication with other vice presidents for student services at community and technical colleges, I believe the findings of student conduct code violations for hazing are rare in our sector, but we’ll fully support the preventive approach of this bill in order to prevent hazing behavior from occurring in the future,” Flores said. She noted some colleges’ student codes of conduct may need to be updated to meet the bill’s revised definition of hazing and disciplinary action against student organizations.
Holliday spoke about how the bill may play out differently at a community or technical college rather than a four-year university.
“The average age of our students is between 23 and 26. Most of our students are independent. We don't have the same level of parental involvement that the four-year universities have, so having a parent involved is just going to be challenging for us, but we are a fully in support this bill,” he said of the bill’s requirement to have a parent serve on the hazing prevention committee.
The committee passed the bill at its hearing Thursday. It now heads to the Senate Ways and Means Committee for its consideration.
Retail education and training
Also up for a hearing was SHB 2019, the bill that would require the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to work with stakeholders to identify skills and educational needs and gaps for retail workers. It would also require the Workforce Board to make recommendations to the Legislature to develop and increase courses, educational pathways, credentials and training for people working in retail.
Rep. Matt Boehnke, the bill’s prime sponsor, told the committee that retail had been left behind as a career field focus.
“We can develop into emerging technology and really engage and partner with our retail providers in the business community and economic development,” he said.
Carolyn McKinnon, a workforce education policy associate at the State Board, testified in favor.
“Your 34 community and technical colleges are certainly committed to providing industry-specific education and training solutions for the industries that drive Washington's economy, including retail trade,” she said. “We are supportive of our agency collaborating with the state Workforce Board and the retail industry to identify those career pathways to develop some strategies to continue to provide a skilled workforce that can keep pace with the changes of the industry; keep pace with innovation and technology in this industry.”
The committee passed the bill Thursday.
Coming up next week
House and Senate fiscal committees will wrap up their work Monday when session reaches its second fiscal committee cutoff deadline. Representatives and senators will be on the floor the remainder of the week, debating and voting on bills before Friday's floor cutoff.