More than 700 people showed up at Roosevelt Elementary School the evening of Thursday, May 24, to see student performances and artwork.
It was the Bellingham school’s second annual Children’s Art Festival Extravaganza.
The school’s 430 students each displayed several pieces of art.
Roosevelt also held a dedication ceremony for the Poet Tree — a sculpture created by artist Tony Hermanutz.
Hermanutz donated it to the school.
BELLINGHAM — “The Boy Mir: Ten Years in Afghanistan,” will be shown 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, at Squalicum High School as part of a student’s senior project.
Bahara Naimzadeh, a first-generation Afghan-American, is presenting the documentary in the forum at the school, 3773 E. McLeod Road.
The event is open to the public. Admission is free, but donations to UNICEF’s Right to Education Fund will gladly be accepted.
The documentary by British filmmaker Phil Grabsky tracks the life of an Afghan boy from age 8, shortly after the fall of the Taliban, to 18 as he comes of age in his war-torn country.
Naimzadeh said she wants to spread the magic of the film and to educate people about the needs of Afghanistan, where she still has family.
“It’s an important cause for me with my family situation,” she said.
Click here to see the official theatrical trailer.
The new state revenue forecast came out this afternoon, and the news is what many people feared.
Tax collections are projected to be down another $780 million.
About $80 million of that is for the current fiscal year, which ends in June, bringing the current budget gap to $200 million.
The budget gap for the 2011-13 biennium, which starts in July, is now estimated to be about $5.1 billion.
Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard sent out the following message to campus about the new revenue forecast.
Minutes ago, the state of Washington issued a new revenue forecast and the news was not good. There are negative implications for the current fiscal year but it is the next biennium where most of our attention is focused.
There, the new forecast is troubling. In December, when the Governor announced her proposed budget, the State was grappling with development of a budget for the 2011-13 biennium that incorporated a projected revenue shortfall of about $4.6 billion. Today`s news dug that hole $698M deeper.
Prior to this latest forecast, the Governor had prepared a budget proposal that would cut public higher education by about $380M. As we have been reporting to you, that meant cuts to Western even more serious than the unprecedented cuts now in place this biennium. Bigger cuts on top of big cuts and without rabbits to pull out of the hat.
Many have been working very hard to make clear in Olympia that cuts of the magnitude that the Governor proposed are untenable.
What does “untenable” really mean? As we have explained to all listening and in order to graphically illustrate the magnitude of the cuts at the level the Governor proposed (net of the 11% tuition increases the Governor proposes), those cuts equal the entire budgets of three of our seven colleges. That level of net cut would be equivalent to laying off 20% of our faculty. We could eliminate all student services and all academic support services and still not achieve the level of the proposed cut.
Like never before, legislators report hearing from students, faculty, parents, alums, and other supporters. And, in particular, hearing from those with Western connections. And, editorial support for higher education as the solution rather than the problem has been expressed across the state, forcefully.
I trust you have also noticed that, in our public pronouncements, we have been pulling no punches. Just three recent examples : in the Seattle Time`s description, “a strongly worded letter” sent to key legislative leadership, the spot-on United Faculty of Washington State Blog, and a candid speech given to a distinguished group in Seattle earlier in the week.
Those of us spending time in Olympia – faculty, staff, students, union leaders – do see tangible evidence that the messages are being heard, understood, and believed by our legislators – in my experience and to a person, people dedicated and working hard for the best interests of our State. Legislators are hearing, yes. But, they also directed us to look at cuts 15% to 30% larger than those the Governor proposed.
Problem is, of course, that there is no money. Today, there`s $698B fewer dollars.
This does mean that, while continuing to fight for the best interests of Washington and pulling out all the stops in so doing, we also have to keep budget processes moving forward. Much is underway:
· Recently, we posted and informed the campus of a revised schedule for developing the 2011-12 operating budget. That includes looking at “worst case” and those processes are under way.
· Yesterday, I first received a list of possible program reductions and eliminations and immediately began the steps for confidential consideration, involving governance leaders in that process as specified in our policies.
· And, the University Planning and Resources Council will be engaging in discussion, at the 30,000 foot level, of the directions Western should pursue in the event of “worst case.”
Enormous uncertainty remains. Folks are predicting that, likely next week, the House will pass a budget and, perhaps, the Senate as well. Folks are also predicting that the two will be worlds apart. Nobody is predicting how long it will take for the two budgets to be reconciled.
While we have a just-revised timeline out there, additional flexibility may become necessary if there are further delays in Olympia. In so doing, we will, of course, continue to seek to provide for as full and as transparent a consideration of options as circumstances will permit.
Lots of other issues remain up in the air including what tuition might be and the specifics of bills that would have consequences for all of us who work for the state.
So, yet again, patience is required. Of this, you can be sure: when we know anything certain, you will know it as well. Toward that commitment (and so I am not wearing out my welcome in email sent directly to you) I will be adding, by the end of the day, a link on my web page that will lead to where, in one place, you can find major communications from me that have to do with budgets.
At times like this, your consistently constructive engagement is all the more critical. And, all the more appreciated.
The state House released a proposed supplemental state budget for the current biennium that would cut much of what school districts have been fearing would come for the current school year.
The House proposal calls for cutting about $216.5 million in expenses and transferring about $123.8 million from other funds to the general fund. This is all on top of the $588 million that was cut across state departments in December during a one-day special session.
When it comes to education, the proposal differs from Gov. Chris Gregoire’s budget proposal in that it doesn’t reduce levy equalization funds, which is money that property-poor school districts receive to keep tax rates manageable. The House proposal also includes cutting the following:
- eliminating all of K-4 enhancement funding for the 2010-11 school year; $42 million. Some of this funding was cut prior to the start of the 2010-11 school year; the cut was also proposed as part of Gregoire’s budget. But, school districts have been waiting to find out if the cut would be retroactive to the start of the school year, or if they would be taken from February onward. This creates financial problems for school districts due to staff members already being locked-in with contracts for the whole school year, meaning districts will likely have to eat the payroll costs.
- eliminating all of Highly Capable Learners Program funding; $7.1 million. Like the k-4 enhancement funding, school districts knew this would be disappearing, but there were questions about whether it would be for the entire 2010-11 school year, or only part of it. The House proposal calls for retroactive elimination of the funding.
- reduction in food service funding; $3 million reduction, but the actual fund increases to about $60.5 million. This is due to a transfer of about $6 million from the education reform budget to the school food budget to allow districts to eliminate co-pay on lunch and breakfast for students who qualify for free meals. It also includes about $56.6 million in “federal expenditure adjustment authority, which is due to an expected increase in the number of students qualifying for free meals. The state gets reimbursed by the federal government for that spending.
The new year is almost here, which means it’s time again for school districts to delve into budget planning and discuss where budget cuts can be made.
But this school year, districts will have to focus on cuts for not only the 2011-12 school year; they will have to focus on cuts for the current school year.
The Blaine School Board will be one of the first in the area to tackle the current budget situation at a work session on Thursday, Jan. 13.
In early December, the state Legislature and Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed education budget cuts that will impact the current school year. With those cuts, which include eliminating funding to reduce class sizes at younger grades and holding-back funding that districts normally get in June, districts across the state may have to reduce their own budgets or dip into reserves.
Gregoire has also released a proposed budget for the 2011-13 biennium, which includes deep cuts in education funding. That budget proposal still needs to work through the state Legislature; as that happens this winter and spring, districts will have a better idea of what kinds of cuts they face for the 2011-12 school year.
Blaine’s worksession will start at 4 p.m. in the district office, 765 H St. There will be no action taken, but the public is invited to listen to the budget discussion.
Check School Days and other district websites in coming weeks to find out when more Whatcom County school district budget discussions will occur.
School districts across the county have started budget planning for the 2011-12 school year, with budget planning committees meeting to discuss where cuts can be made. More specifics about the budgets, and how much money they will have to cut, won’t be known until later this spring.
Check out the following links for district budget planning and committee websites; please note that not all districts have budget websites.
After months of discussion and debate, Western Washington University officials have decided to keep the Music Library in it’s current location in the Performing Arts Center.
As part of another round of budget cuts, university officials proposed consolidating the music library into the university’s main library, Wilson Library. The push-back from the music community was immediate, with students, staff and community members fearing moving the library would damage the integrity and usefulness of the collection.
A taskforce was created to look at other options that still reduced the library budget. On Tuesday, Dec. 6, WWU Provost Catherine Riordan, recommended to President Bruce Shepard to keep the music library in its current location. But doing so will require other cuts to meet budget: staffing will be reduced by one position, which causes hours of operation to be less, and positions for student workers have been eliminated.
The recommended proposal also creates a Joint Oversight Committee, with people from both the Library and Music departments, to review and revise Music Library operations as necessary. The committee will also begin discussing what a music library should look like and how it should operate in the future.
To read the recommendations, click here.
The state revenue forecast was released Thursday, Nov. 18, and the outlook is more dismal than before.
The projected deficit for the 2011-13 biennium is now $5.7 billion due to tax revenue is still sluggish. The current budget, which is through June 2011, has a $385 million deficit. Earlier this fall, Gov. Chris Gregoire asked state agencies to cut 6.3 percent of expenditures to try to help close the budget gap; those cuts are being implemented now.
Gregoire and state legislators are looking at how to make additional cuts. She warns that additional across-the-board cuts of 4.6 percent, which would be what’s needed, is unfeasible given the cuts that already happened. This means that program cuts are likely.
Her released statement is below, along with a statement from state Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, who is a ranking member of the House Finance Committee and a member of the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.
Western Washington University is reducing the 2010-11 operating budget for the third time, and more cuts could be on the way depending on how the state budget continues.
The WWU Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $3.04 million operating budget reduction on Friday, Oct. 8.
In September, Gov. Chris Gregoire asked state agencies to cut expenses for the 2010-11 fiscal year by about 6 percent, in an effort to close a state deficit that keeps growing due to low tax revenue. State agencies, including colleges and universities, were asked to submit supplemental operating budget requests by mid October. The state Legislature will consider the supplemental budgets, with their 6 percent reductions, when it reconvenes in January.
WWU’s proposal meet the $3 million expenditure reduction includes funding reductions for the Border Policy Reserach Institute and Canadian American Studies program, eliminating 14 low-enrollment programs, and bringing programs and departments that are in leased spaces back to campus.
In all, 43 positions will be affected by the cuts, with seven occupied positions being eliminated.
With the newest reduction, and after tuition and fee increases are added back in, about $17 million in expenditures has been cut from the 2010-11 operating budget, President Bruce Shepard told the board.
Due to feedback from the campus community about the proposed cuts, officials are holding off on consolidating the map and music libraries into Wilson Library. A group of university administrators and staff are looking at alternatives to consolidating the libraries while still reducing expenditures.
In determining where to make reductions, university officials used the process that’s been used for budgeting the past couple years. Vice presidents were given target amounts to cut from their planning groups. The vice presidents then worked with deans and directors to determine where cuts could be made.
Before trustees voted on the proposed supplemental budget request, Shepard warned them that more changes may come in January after the Legislature starts working on the state supplemental budget.
“I think that this university, by not dodging bullets, by acting responsibly…when things turn around, we’ll be in a good position to move ahead,” Shepard told the trustees. “We could have bought time until January, but if there are more cuts then, the university would be in trouble.”
Western Washington University students and community members frustrated with budget cuts at colleges and universities are being urged to vote and make their voices and opinions heard.
About 100 people gathered in front of the Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Oct. 7, to rally against another round of proposed budget cuts, as part of the National Day of Action to Defend Public Education.
The Western Washington University Board of Trustees will be discussing and voting on about $3 million in proposed operating budget reductions on Oct. 8.
Several students and community members spoke to the crowd about how the federal government is failing the public by spending money on overseas wars and bailing out corporations instead of supporting higher education.
Others voiced concern that while higher education and financial aid has been cut over the past couple years, tuition has increased by 14 percent each year.
“This lack of funding financial aid comes at a time when more and more families are struggling due to the economy,” said Byron Starkey, the Associated Students vice president of governmental affairs. “Let the Legislature know you care.”
In September, Gov. Chris Gregoire asked state agencies to cut expenses for the 2010-11 fiscal year by about 6 percent. For WWU, that reduction is about $3 million. Proposed cuts include bringing programs and departments in leased spaces back to campus, reducing funding for the Border Policy Research Institute and Canadian American Studies program, and eliminating 14 low-enrollment programs.
In all, 43 positions would be affected by the proposed cuts, with seven occupied positions being eliminated.
The supplemental operating budget request will be considered and potentially adopted by the state Legislature in 2011.
“You need to let elected officials know that education needs to be a priority,” Bill Lyne, WWU professor and president of the United Faculty of Washington State, told the crowd. “You need the same opportunities your parents had… and your children need better opportunities than you get now.”
The WWU event was organized by Western United to Defend Education, a coalition of student and community groups and the United Faculty of Washington State, which represents faculty from WWU, Eastern Washington University, Central Washington University and The Evergreen State College.
Note: I am working on a story about this but it is getting held a day due to other breaking news.
Western Washington University previously announced expenditures this school year are being reduced by about $3 million, as part of statewide budget cuts. At that time, several cuts were proposed, including the possible suspension of 14 programs and bringing offices and departments that are in leased facilities back to campus.
On Monday, President Bruce Shepard sent out a letter to campus about additional proposed cuts, including reducing funding to the Border Policy Research Institute and eliminating seven filled positions across the university. University officials will meet on Oct. 1 to discuss the pros and cons of the suggestions. The Board of Trustees will take action on the proposed cuts at the Oct. 8 meeting.
To read Shepard’s letter, click here. Links to line-item reductions from the various budget planning units are available at the end of the letter.
Western Washington University, in response to continuing state budget reductions in the current 2010-11 fiscal year, is being forced to cut funding to well-known and high-quality WWU programs.
Western released details Monday of additional proposed cuts intended to make the necessary reductions while also protecting Western’s core academic mission.
Prior reductions in state support total more than $50 million to Western this biennium (2009-2011). That is a 34 percent reduction in state support. Recently, the state has directed that Western’s budget be further reduced by an additional $3.05 million. That is another 6.3 percent.
“To this point, we have been able to largely protect programs of high quality and that help establish Western as a premier university. We are now at a point where the only way to protect the high quality of the programs that remain is to make serious cuts to programs that are also high-quality,” said WWU President Bruce Shepard.
For example, within Academic Affairs, reductions were the smallest in percentage terms across campus but, nevertheless include such proposed steps as:
Reducing funding for the internationally acclaimed Border Policy Research Institute and Canadian American Studies program.
Suspending admissions to the well-regarded Student Affairs Administration graduate program. This step is in addition to the previously announced 14 low-enrollment programs being recommended for elimination.
Also, as leases run out over the next year, about $500,000 will be saved by moving units from leased spaces off-campus to buildings the university owns. The savings from leases will be added back to the Academic Affairs budget, as those savings are realized, in order to support plans to start hiring tenure-track faculty again, which has been on hold as a temporary money-saving measure. Western’s long-term academic excellence is sustained by a high number of tenure-track faculty.
The more detailed explanation of proposed budget cuts is now available at Proposals for Further Reductions. Those include previously announced cuts, such as: the elimination of the 14 low-enrollment academic programs; further restricting admissions to winter and spring quarters (the magnitude of the restrictions depending upon careful analysis of fall term student retention rates, class availability, and student mix); and reducing the award of new tuition waivers for winter and spring quarters by $250,000. Tuition waivers are a form of financial aid. Current students with such awards are not affected.
In the face of severe state budget cuts, Western is striving to protect its academic excellence and academic core. Western is in ever higher demand. Receiving 10,000 applications for 2,700 openings, that demand has been disproportionately in the areas of high-tech and science-based preparation. Western recently cut substantially more than the required $50 million and reallocated the difference to eliminate course bottlenecks, largely located in these burgeoning but more costly areas. That commitment to students to get the classes they need in order to graduate in a timely fashion will be sustained even as further cuts are now necessary.