Governor Gregoire released the details of her 2007-09 biennial operating and capital budget proposal in Olympia on Tuesday December 19. For the University of Washington (UW), the news was remarkably good.
The Governor’s operating budget follows the recommendations of her Washington Learns Initiative by providing sufficient new revenues from state appropriations and tuition to begin the process of closing the UW’s per student funding gap with our Global Challenge state peer institutions.
Specifically, new general fund appropriations of $77 million combined with $33 million from the Education Legacy Trust Account and an estimated $71 million in total net tuition revenue (assumes 7% per year) provides a total of $181 million in increased operating budget resources for the UW in the 2007-09 biennium.
With this level of funding, we estimate the Governor’s 2007-09 budget is “on-track” to close the UW’s per student funding gap to the 50th percentile of Global Challenge States within 7 years and to the 60th percentile within 8 years.
Governor Gregoire’s proposed 2007-09 capital spending plan for the UW dramatically reverses a multi-year trend of reduced state support for the University’s building program. The proposed capital spending plan includes $144 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.
Operating Budget Highlights
Compensation: $53.9 million in new state appropriations is provided for increased compensation. This amount includes funding to implement all negotiated collective bargaining agreements. In addition, funds are provided to insure at least at 3.2% and 2.0% cost of living adjustment over the next two years for faculty and other non-represented professional staff, effective September 1 of each fiscal year. Funds are also included for employee health insurance benefit changes.
Enrollments: $23.6 million is provided for 1,630 new enrollments during the next two academic years. This includes 500 new undergraduate enrollments on the Seattle campus (250 per year) for math, science, engineering and other high demand fields; 210 new graduate enrollments on the Seattle campus (105 per year); 480 new enrollments for the UW Tacoma campus (240 per year); and 440 new enrollments for the UW Bothell campus (220 per year).
Research: $10.1 million is provided in new funding for research initiatives. This includes $6.3 million for Department of Global Health; $3.3 million to support operations and maintenance of the new Benjamin Hall Interdisciplinary Research Building; and $500,000 to enhance the University technology transfer “gap fund” used to help commercialize research discoveries.
WWAMI/RIDE: $4.5 million is provided in the UW operating budget for the medical and dental school expansion in Spokane.
Partners for Our Children Center: The Governor’s 2007 Supplemental Budget includes $1 million one-time funding to assist with the establishment of a “best practices” center at the University of Washington School of Social Work to research factors affecting the well being of foster children.
Other: Other items which received funding include $500,000 in new resources to help improve retention rates for low income and first generation students; $340,000 to support the Washington Academy of Sciences; $225,000 for the William Ruckelshaus Center (plus $25,000 in the 2007 supplemental budget); and $168,000 for support of the UW State Climatologist.
Capital Budget Highlights
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: $5.0 million is provided for pre-design and design for a multi-purpose academic building to accommodate a capacity increase of at least 600 student FTE’s.
Intermediate Student Service and Classroom Improvements: $8.4 million is provided 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. The amount provided is $6.6 million less than the UW had requested.
Minor Works: As requested by the University, minor works preservation and program projects would be funded through local building account funds.