Governor Inslee’s 2013-2015 biennial, or two-year, state budget provides a six percent increase in the college’s funding, and no tuition increase.
The budget raises South Puget Sound Community College funding for Aerospace and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) enrollments, and a step increase in salary for the school’s classified (non-faculty) employees.
The 2013-2015 budget reverses the 2011 budget cut of $485 million in higher education, and the three percent cut of state workers pay.
However, the State House of Representatives and State Senate have yet to propose their own versions of the budget. By law, the Governor has to submit a budget by December, but the House and Senate have the benefit of waiting until the state’s revenue forecast to release their budgets.
The next revenue forecast will be out March 20, and is based on how much in taxes the state is expected to collect.
Despite the state’s constitution, there is a $2 billion shortfall according to current revenue forecasts, $1 billion of which is represented by the recent McCleary court case.
Mathew and Stephanie McCleary sued Washington for not properly funding K-12 education, and in January 2012 the State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the McClearys. To properly fund K-12 education, money could be taken from other state programs, such as higher education.
SPSCC Vice President of Administrative Services Nancy McKinney said she is optimistic SPSCC will see the funding increases. “I think state leadership knows education is a good investment,” she said.
Anastasia Campbell, a Running Start student from North Thurston High School, said that she hopes there is increased funding for education in general, and that she hopes the governor’s budget survives the State House and State Senate proposals.
Kyle Sneddon earns both college and high school credits through the Running Start program with plans to study engineering at the University of Washington. Sneddon said he advises the legislature to keep the Running Start program so future high school students can have the same opportunity as him.