Sep. 25, 2014
CWU State Budget Requests Fund Academic Programs, Science Facilities, Cost of Living Adjustments
Central Washington University today announced budget priorities for the 2015-2017 legislative session. CWU will request $16.5 million in new programs and policies in the operating budget. The highest priorities in the capital budget include $64 million for the renovation and addition to Samuelson Union Building. The university will seek $5 million for the design phase of a health sciences facility and $300,000 for the initial, "predesign" phase of a Native American fisheries and cultural center.
"CWU is putting forth some exciting construction and programmatic ideas," said CWU president James L. Gaudino. "We're proposing ideas that play on our strengths and appeal to the interests of state policymakers."
CWU is requesting $5 million to fund a legislative program request for an alternative credit-granting model. The so-called "Online Alternative Credit Model" would serve non-traditional students by granting credit for knowledge gained outside the classroom, and would allow individuals to complete degree programs at their own pace. With $400,000 in the 2015-2017 biennium CWU would launch the Institute for Integrated Energy Studies. The institute would provide educational programs, research, and commercial consulting, focusing on the nexus between traditional and non-traditional energy resources. CWU also has proposed special funding of $1.4 million to implement research on retaining transfer students.
Gaudino said CWU also has requested funding to provide a cost-of-living adjustment for employees, the first since 2008.
"The request in no way makes up for six years of stagnant wages, but it begins to position CWU and other state universities to recruit and retain the best employees to higher education," Gaudino said. "We need to pay people what they're worth in order to run efficiently, to guarantee the quality of instruction, and to ensure the effectiveness of student support programs."
Capital budget requests would enable CWU to return to service the former Samuelson Union Building, constructed in 1926 and mothballed since 2006. The project would renovate the northern portion of the building and demolish and replace the southern side to create a modern academic building for Computer Science, Mathematics, Multi-modal Learning, and Information Technology and Administrative Management. The capital request also includes renovation funding for Bouillon Hall, Lind Hall, and Old Heat, the former boiler plant, built in 1947.
Gaudino said the requests go forward in a very difficult budget environment.
"Many people will be fighting for a piece of a small state operating budget," he said, noting that a sluggish economy isn't recovering from the Great Recession fast enough to cover all state needs. Recent state Supreme Court rulings have added billions to the demands on the budget, and at least one initiative before voters could add more than $4 billion to budget demands if it passes.
All state agency budget requests are due in September to the state budget office, the Office of Financial Management. The requests are reviewed and evaluated prior to the governor proposing budgets in December. The state legislative session begins January 12, 2015, and proceeds for 105 days of regular session.
Media contact: Linda Schactler, CWU Chief of Staff, 509-963-1384, firstname.lastname@example.org
September 25, 2014