There’s something in the water

Everyone, seriously,remain calm.
CWU is not Laying Off All Adjunct Faculty. What the heck? Where did that one come from? I started hearing that this morning around 10:00 and by 5:00-ish it was coming at me from Olympia.
Lets all take a deep,steadying breath and consider the facts. There are three key decision pointsfor budgeting that directly affect all of us because they determine salary,benefits, and/or the hours we work.
Step1.) Legislative decisions about the budget. We cleared that today. The legislative bit isdone. We know what they’ve cut, what the new rules are, and what they’reassuming for base tuition. This fills in the blanks on spread sheets, but thefinal numbers come next.
Step2.) Governing boards choose the actual tuition rate. A couple of percentage points one way or the other drive ratherdifferent totals. Obviously, the effect of our state budget cut would be less severe with themoney generated by a 14% tuition increase than with an 11% increase. This isjust one of the details our trustees will have to address before we can translatea legislative budget into an institutional budget and move on to step 3.
Step3.) Shoe-horning the university into a smaller size budget. Regardless of what action the board takes, we’re going to have less money to work with. Those unenviable decisions about priorities, programs, people, and processes will come after June11. Let’s keep in mind that the state budget has been out for one day. It’s gonna take a little longer to come up with a way tomake it work on the ground.
And by the way, we’re not buying the Yellow Church restaurant. That’s the other rumor that’s been spinning for several days–from student and professional reporters, from staff and faculty.
I have asked everyone Iknow who is in the position to know actual facts about this and they all saythe same thing: No.
Sometimes the YC question is paired with the Albertson’s question. Nope. Not buying that either. We have asked the state for permission to think about it, however. Read page 68of HB 1497, one of two construction budget bills: http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/Budget/Detail/2011/hcStrikertoSHB14970525.pdf
This says we may

“…Enter into a financing contract for up to $2,500,000 plus financingand required reserves pursuant to chapter 39.94 RCW to purchase theAlbertsons’s building.”

This provides no money. The money would come from a bond sale and we’d have to have money to make bond payments. As we all know, money is short. By the way, state law makes it very cumbersome for state agencies, including universities, to acquire real estate. There are many forms and permissions and processes that come first.

And for this evening’s final rumor--this is for the Seattle Times–no, Sparks Hall did not burn down tonight. A faulty fire alarm fizzled during the power outage. End of story.

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About Linda Schactler

Linda is the former Director of Communications for the Washington State Senate, and former deputy director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. From 2000 through 2010 Linda was the proprietor of Schactler Communications, an Olympia-based public affairs business. She holds a master of arts in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Linda can be reached at her Ellensburg office schactler@cwu.edu, 509-963-1384, or on her cell phone, 509-607-4103.
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