March 29, 2007
Senate Releases Operating and Capital Budgets – Mixed Bag For The UW
Eight days after House Democrats unveiled their 2007-09 spending proposal, Senate Democrats today released the details of their operating and capital budgets to the public. While the Senate operating budget does allow the University to make real progress on addressing its per student funding goals, the overall amount of funding provided is less than both the House and Governor’s budget proposals. In addition, funding for compensation and global health are major concerns as detailed below. The Senate capital budget is virtually identical to the Governor and House proposals which were very strong for the University. One significant problem is lack of design funding for the UW Bothell Phase 3 project.
SENATE OPERATING BUDGET
New general fund appropriations of $66.7 million combined with $32.6 million from the Education Legacy Trust Account and an estimated $88.8 million in total net tuition revenue (assumes 7% for all students) provides a total of $188 million in new operating budget resources for the UW in the 2007-09 biennium. This is about $10 million less than provided in the Governor’s budget and $13 million less than included in the House budget.
With this level of funding, we estimate the Senate 2007-09 budget is “on-track” to close the UW’s per student funding gap to the 60th percentile of Global Challenge State institutions within 10 years as prescribed in SSB 5806. This is somewhat slower progress towards closing the gap than is achieved in both the House and Governor budgets.
Compensation: $36.5 million is provided for compensation funding. This amount is $17.3 million less than what was included for overall compensation items in both the Governor and House budgets. The Senate does include $6.5 million in state funding for faculty recruitment and retention. However, even with this additional funding, the Senate budget results in a net reduction of $10.8 million overall for compensation increases compared to the Governor and the House. To cover this shortfall, the Senate budget would shift this cost to UW tuition revenues. This means that the University will have less tuition revenue available to address other important campus priorities.
One significant difference between the Senate budget and both the Governor and House budgets is the start date for the 2007-09 salary increases. The Senate budget salary increases would be effective July 1 of each fiscal year for both represented and non-represented staff. Both the Governor and House budgets provided for July 1 starting date for represented staff and a September 1 starting date for non-represented staff.
Enrollments: $22.7 million is provided for 1,750 new enrollments during the next two academic years. This includes 500 new undergraduate enrollments (250 per year) for math, science, engineering and other high demand fields; 330 new graduate enrollments (165 per year); 920 new general undergraduate enrollments (460 per year). The UW may allocate the enrollments at either the Seattle, Bothell or Tacoma campuses.
Research: $5.5 million is provided in new funding for research initiatives. This includes $2.5 million for the Department of Global Health which is $3.8 million less than included in the Governor and House budgets, and $3.0 million for interdisciplinary research support (advanced technology initiatives). No funding is included for operations and maintenance funding for the Research and Technology Building or for the Research to Products initiative.
UW Tower: The Senate budget provides $3.9 million for partial funding of the UW’s request for operations and maintenance support for the newly acquired UW Tower. There is no funding in the Governor or House budgets for this item.
International Programs and Opportunities: The Senate budget fully funds the University’s $1.5 million request to expand international programs and opportunities for students. There is no funding in the Governor or House budgets for this item.
WWAMI/RIDE: $3.8 million is provided in the Senate’s UW operating budget for the medical and dental school expansion in Spokane. This is $676,000 less than requested by the University and included in the Governor’s Budget.
William Ruckelshaus Center: $225,000 is included in the UW budget (and an additional $225,000 in the WSU budget) to provide permanent funding for the Ruckelshaus Center (policy consensus center). In addition, $500,000 is included in the budget for the Office of Financial Management to contract with the Ruckelshaus center for an Agricultural Pilot Project and $50,000 is provided in the 2007 supplemental budget proposal ($25,000 in UW and $25,000 in WSU) for a project related to land use and property rights.
Other Budget Items: Other items included in the Senate proposal for the UW include $500,000 to improve retention rates for low income and first generation students; $170,000 to support the Washington Academy of Sciences which is only one half the amount provided in the Governor and House budgets; $168,000 for support of the UW State Climatologist; $125,000 to improve autism training and parental support; and $50,000 for the Olympic Natural Resources Center.
Expand State Need Grant: The Senate budget significant expands eligibility for the state need grant. Specifically, $19 million is provided to increase eligibility from 65 percent to 75 percent of state median income. For a family of four, 75 percent of the state median income is about $54,000 per year.
SENATE CAPITAL BUDGET
The 2007-09 Senate capital budget generally follows the Governor and House proposed capital budget recommendations for the University of Washington. With this level of state capital funding, the Senate budget dramatically reverses a multi-year trend of reduced state support for the University’s building program.
The proposed capital spending plan includes $143 million in new state funding for UW construction projects. This is almost twice the total amount of state capital support the University received in the current biennial capital budget and represents the highest level of support for UW capital in ten years.
Restore the Core: The UW’s “Restore the Core” package of requests to renovate historic capital buildings on the Seattle campus is funded with $94 million in new state capital appropriations. This includes full funding of construction for Savery Hall, Clark Hall, Playhouse Theater and Magnuson H-Wing (also received $3.0 million from local funds). In addition, full funding for planning and design is provided for the next phase of restoration projects including Balmer Hall, Lewis Hall and Denny Hall.
Data Center: The budget provides $25.0 million to construct a new primary Data Center in the UW Tower and to provide ongoing campus computing and communications infrastructure and connectivity.
Interdisciplinary Academic Building: $5.0 million is provided for pre-design and design for a new facility that will enable significant advances in the UW’s molecular engineering program.
UW Tacoma Phase 3: $6.2 million is provided for pre-design and design for major renovation of the Joy Building, including the addition of a fourth floor. This will provide nearly 70,000 square feet of additional classroom and faculty office space.
UW Bothell Phase 3: One significant concern in the Senate capital budget proposal is the decision to fund only $150,000 for pre-design for the UW Bothell Phase 3 expansion for a multi-purpose academic building to accommodate a capacity increase of at least 600 student FTE’s. Design funding of $4.85 million was eliminated and would instead be funded in the 2009-11 biennium.
Intermediate Student Service and Classroom Improvements: The Senate capital budget provides $13.3 million to continue renovation of general assignment classrooms on the Seattle campus, consolidate and modernize space for Student Services programs and provide classroom space for the WWAMI/RIDE medical and dental expansion. This is $1.7 million less than the UW request and the amount provided in the House budget, but $5 million more than provided for in the Governor’s budget.
Minor Works Threshold: The Senate Capital Budget increases the threshold for higher education minor works projects from $1 million to $2 million. Higher education institutions had sought an increase in the threshold to $3 million but the proposed language in the Senate budget is an improvement over the current limit.
Space Utilization Study: The Senate capital budget calls for a new study of higher education space utilization that should provide a more balanced way of measuring the efficiency of space use across the many different kinds of higher education institutions in the state.
Cost Allocation Pools: A total of $5 million is provided to the Office of Financial Management to assist colleges and universities with unanticipated cost escalation on construction projects during the 2007-09 biennium. Funds must be matched from non-state resources up to $750,000.