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CWU Legislation In Review

With the legislative session in full swing, it is important to keep our alumni informed and up to date with the legislative priorities of the university. During this legislative session, lawmakers will approve two year budgets for construction and also for operations. Nearly 3,000 bills will be introduced, with only about a tenth of those finding their ways through the legislative process to adoption.
 

CWU's legislative team includes: Distinguished Alumna Ann Anderson who served as a member of the state House and Senate, Steve DuPont who is a former ASCWU officer who has been instrumental in achieving CWU's record construction budget appropriations over the last several years, and Antonio Sanchez, whose extensive experience includes directing House policy committees and international business relations development for the Lieutenant Governor.
 

Central’s top capital budget request is funding for the construction of a new Health Sciences facility. The building will house programs in:

• Nutrition Science
• Clinical Physiology
• Exercise Science
• Public Health
• Emergency Medical Services

The funding will allow the university to construct a state-of-the-art facility, equipped with new labs and modern learning spaces. This building will allow all students majoring in Health Science programs to be under one roof for the first time. Central is seeking $49.9 million to complete the construction of the facility at the Ellensburg campus.
 

Also on the list of priorities is a $10 million request to expand hangar space and classroom size at the Bowers Field Airport for the aviation department. This request stems from the growing demand for highly skilled and educated aviation students, with an emphasis on pilots. A third priority is design funding for a renovation of Nicholson Pavilion. Constructed in 1959 as the "Health and Physical Education Building," the "suspension bridge" facility has never been renovated. During regularly scheduled school hours, academic, credit-bearing programs account for as much as 72.3 percent of activity in Nicholson.

To view a full list of capital budget priorities for Central Washington University click here.
 

Central's operating budget proposal seeks additional funding to address the state's K-12 teacher shortage, the increased occurrence and intensity of wildfire, and the need to provide advising for CWU students. The $11.9-million teacher shortage proposal focuses on reducing student education costs and expands student teaching opportunities. The wildfire proposal seeks $1.2 million to develop a professional certificate training program in geospatial technologies for current firefighters; a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildfire Science and Wildland Management; and a graduate education program focused on managing wildlands and wildfire in the Pacific Northwest. The $6.4 million advising proposal reduces advisor caseloads and creates advising strategies specifically for students who transfer from other institutions.
 

Your voice is important and policymakers want to hear from you. Reach out to your state House and Senate representatives and to the governor to make your opinions and passions part of state government.

Story by: Joey Castonguay, UA Communications Student Intern

Photos courtesy of: CWU

Above story published March 9, 2017 | Updates below dated April 10, 2017

UPDATES FROM OLYMPIA

The Washington State Legislature is currently in the thick of budget discussions in the 105-day legislative session. The House and Senate have each released their operating and capital budget proposals for the next two years. The operating budget is what pays for daily expenses such as faculty salaries, energy costs, and program expenses. The capital budget funds construction, infrastructure, and building improvements in state facilities including academic and administration buildings at universities. The following is a quick summary of what each provides for Central Washington University.

OPERATING BUDGET PROPOSALS

The Senate operating budget proposal emphasizes increasing enrollments by providing $2.26 million to support an increase of 200 enrollments. The Senate budget requires 70 percent of the enrollments to be in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  The Senate budget cut by almost $1 million the amount of financial aid CWU is allowed to provide in the form of tuition waivers. At CWU, tuition waivers are primarily used to serve students with financial need.

The House operating budget proposal focuses on college affordability with a large increase in State Need Grant funding as well as a freeze in tuition rates. About 4,000 CWU students are eligible for the Need Grant, but the state provides only enough money to serve about 3,000. The House proposes to provide an additional $49.2 million to serve 6,000 more students statewide. The House plan freezes tuition levels at current rates. The House budget proposes $1.8 million in new funding for CWU to increase the number of advisors available to students as well as establish advising services at community colleges and Joint Base Lewis McChord.

CAPITAL BUDGET PROPOSALS

The Senate capital budget would provide $23 million for CWU to begin construction of a Health Sciences facility, CWU’s top priority. The new building will be sited roughly where Hertz Hall is located today and will provide modern classroom and laboratory space for student in public health, clinical physiology, exercise science, paramedicine, and nutrition. Many of these high-demand programs have capped enrollments since 2012 due to a lack of space—particularly modern space. The new building will allow more students to be able to major in these disciplines. The Senate plan funds only the first phase of the project; CWU will request the second phase of funding in 2019.

The House capital budget proposed to fund a lower priority project, which replaces boilers in the heating plant. The House capital budget also provides some funding for CWU’s Aviation Training Center, but instead of using state funds, relies heavily on funding from student tuition and timber trust revenues.

If you would like to contact your legislators to express an opinion about the budget proposals, please click here to find out who represents you and their contact information.


 

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