August Board of Trustees meeting recap
Board of Trustees Recap for Aug. 18
Editor’s Note: After each Board of Trustees meeting, Western Today provides a recap of decisions and discussion.
Trustees Approve 2017-2019 Operating Budget Request
Western’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved Western’s 2017-19 operating budget request of $169,455,792 in state funds and net tuition revenue, in support of academic, administrative and departmental operations.
The budget request, developed through an open, transparent, bottom-up process, has as its top priority employee compensation. In order to maintain the excellence of Western, and to attract and retain quality faculty and staff, the request includes funding an amount equivalent to a 4.0 percent annual increase for all employees. Actual increases will be dependent on the level of funding received, collective bargaining agreements, and the Professional Staff Compensation Plan.
The budget request also includes several Decision Packages, which apply Western’s strengths to critical state needs. Those include: Investing in Student Success and Achievement; Comprehensive Approach to Enhancing Equity, Inclusion and Diversity; Increasing STEM Capacity, and Scaling Up: Increasing the Number of Teachers in Washington State. For more information on these Decision Packages, see: https://trustees.wwu.edu/sites/trustees7x315.wwu.edu/files/11%20Approval%20of%202017-19%20Biennial%20Budget%20Request.pdf
Western’s biennial budget request will be sent to the state and will be considered as the governor and Legislature develop operating budget plans for the state.
On the state budget, the trustees also heard a presentation from David Schumacher, director of the state Office of Financial Management. He said that the state economy demonstrates slow but steady growth as it continues to recover from the recession and state revenue collections are inching upward. However, because the recession was so deep and prolonged, economic recovery has been slower that following previous recessions.
Schumacher described how the state of Washington, heavily dependent on the sales tax, has one of the most regression tax systems in the nation. Washington also is a low-tax state, he said, ranking 35th among all states for rate of state and local tax collections as a share of personal income. But because the tax system is so regressive, the lower 40 percent of taxpayers in the state, based on income, are among the highest taxed in the nation. That fuels the perception among state residents that Washington is a high-tax state, he said.
In addition, state revenue growth is not keeping pace with rising state costs. Further complicating the budget picture for the state is the McCleary court case, in which the state Supreme Court has ruled that the state has failed to live up to its constitutional mandate to fully fund K-12 schools. Schumacher said the state is making progress in complying with McCleary but concluded all those pressures will challenge lawmakers during the upcoming legislative in agreeing to a state 2017-19 state operating budget.
In a separate discussion with the trustees, state Rep. Tina Orwell discussed the importance of reinvesting in the state, and suggested Western use that approach as it seeks funding via the legislative budget process.
In other business, the trustees:
- Heard from President Sabah Randhawa, who has been attending a wide range of meetings, including with legislators, student leaders, administrators, staff, alumni and others. “It’s been a busy and wonderful start for me at Western,” Randhawa said, adding that he has been impressed by the “pride and passion” so many people have about Western.
- Heard an update on Western in the Peninsulas from Earl Gibbons, vice provost for Extended Education. He described the excitement created by Western’s partnerships with Olympic and Peninsula colleges. He said a new cybersecurity degree offering stemmed from local employer support and encouragement. He also said the SEA Discovery Center, of which ownership was recently transferred to Western, is off to a great start with the university and that WWU is working closely with local school districts on school science programming.
- Approved an emergency rule change to Chapter 516-21, Student Rights and Responsibilities Code. This was necessary to bring it into compliance with federal mandate.
- Heard a presentation by Jennifer Hine, director of Washington Campus Compact, on “Strengthening Communities through Education and Civic Engagement.” She was joined in the presentation by Western student Francisco Sanchez, who described his work via service learning to help in the community.
- Passed a resolution welcoming new student Trustee Abby Ramos, and also extended greetings to new Associated Students President Stephanie Cheng, Faculty Senate President Kristen Larson and Assistant Attorney General Rob Olson, who will be working with Western.
- Thanked Provost Brent Carbajal for his service as interim university president between the time from President Bruce Shepard’s retirement at the end of June and President Randhawa beginning as president Aug. 1.
- Recognized Craig Dunn for his service as interim dean of the College of Business and Economics; Dunn will be serving as the Wilder Professor at CBE; Brent Mallinckrodt, new dean of the College of Humanities and Social Services; John Lawson, who recently retired as vice provost for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, and Greg Smith, interim vice provost for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees is Oct. 13 and 14, 2016.
Meeting documents are available at the Board of Trustees website at https://trustees.wwu.edu/Site%20Content%20and%20Pages/Meeting%20Materials.aspx