Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Students, trustees, college leaders descend on Olympia

This is one of the busiest weeks each year as community and technical college trustees, presidents, and students gather for professional development and to make their voices heard. The Friday edition of Legislative News will give a wrap-up of the week's activities.


Trustees in town for conference, name Transforming Lives award winners

The Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges (TACTC) is in town for its annual Legislative Contact Conference in Olympia. Tonight they will gather to honor this year's Transforming Lives award recipients and hear a special presentation by Gov. Jay Inslee. On Wednesday, participants will hear from legislators about higher education issues.


Students to rally, ask legislators to support higher ed

On Friday, Feb. 1 from noon to1:30 pm in the Capitol Rotunda, about 400 students from all 34 community and technical colleges will rally about issues affecting two-year college students including access to high-demand degree programs, tuition rates, and textbook prices.
Slate of speakers (as of today):
Ÿ Kailene Sparrs, Clover Park Technical College, and Ty Somerville, Green River Community College, lead student speakers with more to join
Ÿ Mark Mitsui, North Seattle Community College president
Ÿ Dan Altmayer, Highline Community College trustee
Ÿ Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, House Higher Education Committee chair
Ÿ Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, House Higher Education Committee ranking minority member
Ÿ Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, Senate Higher Education Committee chair
Ÿ Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater,  House Higher Education Committee member


Committee focuses on differential tuition

The House Higher Education Committee held a public hearing on House Bill 1043 which would repeal the ability of colleges to charge differential tuition rates.
While no colleges or universities are charging differential tuition, the option allows schools to charge higher tuition for programs that are more expensive to operate or whose graduates tend to earn higher-than-average wages. 
Although community and technical colleges are not charging differential tuition at this time, Nick Lutes, SBCTC operating budget director, testified that "State Board members and college presidents would like to keep the differential tuition option open to allow for future exploration of tuition structures."
A number of university students spoke in favor of the bill, saying that differential tuition will discourage students from choosing high-demand STEM fields.
Representatives from several four-year universities spoke in opposition to the bill.


Student indebtedness up dramatically for CTC students

On Tuesday, the House Higher Education Committee held a work session on higher education financial aid and student debt.
Rachelle Sharpe, Washington Student Achievement Council financial aid director, gave an overview of state financial aid, including the impact of tuition increases and shortfall of State Need Grant funds on student borrowing habits.
"The state need grant used to be almost fully funded," Sharpe explained, but funding has not been able to keep pace with the increased enrollment of needy students. "Due to tuition increases and more needy students enrolling, nearly 31,000 students in the state who are eligible for State Need Grant are not receiving the funds."
She said average student loan debt in Washington state has historically been lower than average, but is increasing.
Between 2007-08 and 2011-12, the annual average student loan amount of needy resident undergraduates has increased for all higher education sectors in Washington, particularly for two-year college students:
Ÿ Up 17% for four-year private college students
Ÿ Up 22% for four-year public college/university students
Ÿ Up 42% for community and technical college students

Friday, January 25, 2013

Student achievement, Common Core, and online education discussed

Over the last few days, CTCs have presented before committees in both the House and Senate about the Student Achievement Initiative, Common Core, and our system’s approach to online education. These work sessions continue to provide information for new committee members as policy and budget discussions continue.

Student Achievement Initiative on stage at work session

Jan Yoshiwara, SBCTC deputy director for education, and Tom Nielsen, Bellevue College vice president of instruction, highlighted the community and technical college system’s nationally recognized Student Achievement Initiative (SAI) during a Senate Higher Education Committee work session on Tuesday.
Under SAI — the system’s performance-based funding approach — colleges earn a portion of their funding based on results, not just enrollments. Points — and funding — are awarded when students reach key academic achievement points that propel them toward certificates, degrees and transfers. Examples include finishing 15 college credits and then 30 college credits, and completing college-level math.
Yoshiwara said the number of degrees and certificates completed at Washington’s community and technical colleges increased by 46 percent between 2007 and 2012.
However, the overall growth in completions slowed in 2011-2012 as budget cuts caused colleges to close sections and programs. “If we can keep students enrolled — if we can keep access to the courses and degree programs that students need and want — they will achieve,” she said.
Nielsen shed light on the initiative’s key goals:
Ÿ Reflect the diverse communities served by community and technical colleges
Ÿ Make measurements simple, understandable and meaningful
Ÿ Use information to develop effective projects to help students progress, regardless of where they started
Ÿ Move students through institutions further and faster
Nielsen pointed out that in 2014, additional momentum points will be built into the initiative to put greater emphasis on student retention and completion.
The changes will also ensure that colleges have a fair opportunity to earn awards regardless of college characteristics.
“We worked on the metrics and the award methods so that we would maximize the points earned by conscious effort … and minimize points that might have been earned by inherent characteristics of the colleges, like size or enrollment growth…,” he said.
Yoshiwara and Nielsen both explained that new money from the Legislature — as opposed to budget provisos carved out of the system’s budget — provides the greatest incentive for colleges.

National standards at core of discussion

On Thursday the House Education Committee held a work session on the national Common Core State Standards – rigorous new math and English standards adopted by Washington and 45 other states.
The standards create a consistent, clear set of academic benchmarks to prepare all students for college or work, regardless of where they live. In the past, it’s been up to each state to decide what students should learn and when. As a result, students in the same grade may learn vastly different topics from state to state.
Washington is also a member of the “Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium,” a 25-state group that is developing assessments to find out whether students are actually meeting the standards. The assessment will use a computer adaptive test, meaning each question is chosen based on how well the student has done so far; the computer “learns” along with the students to find out where they land on a learning scale. The key assessment will take place in 11th grade so students still have a year to catch up, maintain, or boost their knowledge.
“It will be a bright line…for 11th graders,” explained Joe Willhoft, the consortium’s executive director. “If (students) meet that standard in English, they can move directly into (college) credit-bearing English courses, and if they meet it in mathematics, they can enter into credit-bearing courses in mathematics.
But will colleges also find those assessments accurate and use them as a tool?
Bill Moore, SBCTC director of Core-to-College alignment, said Washington is helping to answer that question. Washington is one of ten states that will serve as a national model for implementing Common Core State Standards using a competitive grant provided by the Lumina Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Through the project, two-year and four-year colleges are taking a “deep” look at the standards to determine whether they make sense and reflect readiness from a college perspective, said Moore.
The project will also involve:
Ÿ Developing an overall agreement for how to use the common core standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment, specifically the 11th grade test. “That’s where the rubber hits the road,” Moore said.
Ÿ Developing local partnerships with high schools and colleges at the local level on assessment-driven college placements and on easing the transition between high school and college.

Link to testimony on TVW.

Online education in the spotlight

Connie Broughton, SBCTC director of eLearning and open education, and Renee Carney, Lower Columbia College director of eLearning, presented during a Senate Higher Education Committee work session on Thursday about online education in public two-year and four-year institutions of higher education.
Broughton described how the SBCTC Strategic Technology Plan underpins the system’s efforts to use technology to improve teaching and learning with three basic tenets:
Ÿ Buy, don’t build.
Ÿ Negotiate single system contracts that can be locally managed.
Ÿ Provide access and professional development to all students, faculty, and staff.
“Instead of trying to build [write software applications, code and programming], we negotiate single system contracts,” she said. “This has provided us with tremendous savings. The campuses are then able to decide locally how to use and implement the tools.”
She explained that while it’s important to have the tools, it’s imperative to provide professional development and user support for faculty, students, and staff who are to implement and use the technology.
“We are improving teaching and learning,” she said. “Not just increasing access to technology.”
Broughton highlighted several of the system’s key technology initiatives:
Ÿ Learning management system (Canvas)
Ÿ Ability to pool enrollments (WAOL)
Ÿ Lecture capture system (Tegrity)
Ÿ Web conferencing (Collaborate)
Ÿ 24/7 research librarians (askwa)
Ÿ 24/7 eTutoring (Western eTutoring Consortium)
Ÿ Open education resources (Open Course Library - OCL)
“To date, the Open Course Library has saved students an estimated $5 million in textbook costs,” Broughton said, describing how a typical math textbook costs $140 to $180. “Students enrolled in an OCL class can save about $100 per course on textbooks.”
Carney gave the committee an overview of Canvas, the new learning management system selected by the community and technical colleges to enable all electronic modes (eModalities) of teaching and learning.
SBCTC signed the Canvas contract last July after a rigorous RFP process. With the Canvas contract available to all public higher education institution, the colleges enjoy not only favorable costs, but also access to shared programming and professional development.
Carney described the substantial cost savings realized by Lower Columbia College.
LCC had an independent contract with Canvas which cost about $62,000 annually. After joining the shared Canvas contract, their costs dropped to about $23,500 annually; a savings of about $38,500 per year.
SBCTC eLearning is in the process of planning and facilitating the migration of each college. To date, four of the thirty-four colleges have made a full migration and another 27 are at different stages in the process.
In addition to the CTCs, six of the four-year public universities are taking advantage of the shared contract: University of Washington, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University, Central Washington University, Washington State University Spokane, and The Evergreen State College.
Committee chair Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, asked Carney how comfortable the older students are with technology, given the older demographic of CTC students.
Carney said digital literacy is a consideration for all students, regardless of age.
“While some of the younger generation of students is very comfortable with social media, they aren’t necessarily proficient at using technology in an academic setting,” she said, describing the digital technology orientations and boot camps available for all students.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Legislature keeps CTCs busy!

The Legislature is keeping the community and technical college system busy. Week two began with speeches in both chambers marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As of today, committee hearings of interest to the CTC system have focused on higher education funding – from high-demand programs for students and increasing faculty salaries, to capital projects across the state.

House capital budget testimony

Wayne Doty, SBCTC capital budget director, testified Monday before the House Capital Budget Committee on former Gov. Gregoire's proposed 2013-2015 capital budget.

"We support this proposal, which funds the community and technical college system's highest priority capital projects and will sustain about 4,500 jobs," Doty said, describing the potential impact of the infrastructure investment. "[These capital projects] will contribute to the vitality of every community in the state."

The Governor's proposal funded – fully or in part – the first 19 design, construction, and repair/maintenance projects on the system's capital projects priority list. Doty urged the committee to also fund construction of the College Instruction Center at Olympic College, the one remaining project on the system's list.

The proposed budget also provides authority for alternative financing for several projects:

Ÿ Green River Student Life Building – Students have contributed over $4 million to replace this 36-year-old building.

Ÿ Whatcom Student Recreation Center – Health and physical education classes, athletics and recreational facilities help increase retention and student success.

Ÿ South Puget Sound Lacey Campus – Classes currently located at the Hawks Prairie Center and at the Mottman campus will be consolidated at the new Lacey campus.

Link to testimony on TVW.

Side note

During a Jan. 16 House Higher Education Committee work session on higher education policy priorities, Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, applauded the community and technical college system's collaborative approach to prioritizing capital projects. "Our community and technical college system, managed through the state board, runs an internal priority system…with rigorous discipline," he said. Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, also credited the CTC system: "(As a long-term member of the House Capital Budget Committee) I just think we need to acknowledge that our community colleges and tech colleges… do one of the best jobs we see in the state in ranking their list and they need to be applauded for the effort. It's truly a model not only for our state but for around the nation."

Link to Rep. Seaquist's comment on TVW.  

Link to Rep. Smith's comment on TVW.

Senate committee hears higher education budget priorities

The Jan. 21 Senate Ways and Means Committee focused on higher education operating budget requests. Marty Brown, SBCTC executive director, gave an overview of the unique community and technical college demographics.

"We have lots of returning and non-traditional students … 43 percent work, 30 percent have children," Brown said. He also pointed out that 40 percent of the graduates at our state's four-year colleges and universities start a community and technical college, and 35 percent of engineering majors at four-year institutions transferred from a CTC.

Brown highlighted the CTC legislative agenda and operating budget requests, noting that the CTC system places the greatest emphasis on students. "Our biggest ask is for additions in faculty and staff, but our number one ask is more students ... we have a request for more aerospace, professional-technical, all of the types of students in our system. [The CTCs] do jobs."

Brown urged the Legislature to minimize tuition increases and maximize financial aid. "Ten to 12 years ago, we were probably about … 24th in the nation for tuition [rates], right now we're seventh highest," he said.

Pamela Transue, Tacoma Community College president, said funding high-demand degree programs will get students into good jobs and meet employers' needs.

"We have long waiting lists for our health programs and we'd like to increase capacity, which additional high-demand FTEs would allow us to do," she said. Transue also illustrated the important role faculty play in student success and stressed the need to recruit and retain quality faculty by, among other things, transitioning more part-time faculty to full-time positions.

 "One of the effects of the reductions of the last five years has been…16 percent fewer full-time positions at [Tacoma Community College]," she said.

CTCs are also moving students through college faster with accelerated instruction and improving completion rates. "The Student Achievement Initiative provides an incentive for [increasing student success] and recognition for those efforts," Transue said.

The Washington Student Achievement Council provided an overview of the State Need Grant, the College Bound Scholarship program and the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program. A hot topic already, legislative proposals continue to circulate about whether to close or keep the GET program. The Council of Presidents and four-year universities also testified about legislative funding priorities this session.

Link to testimony.

Preview of Friday Leg News

The Jan. 25 edition of Leg News will feature highlights from work sessions discussing the Student Achievement Initiative, the Common Core Project, and online education.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gov. Inslee sworn in, CTCs highlighted in committee hearings

It’s official! Gov. Inslee was sworn into office by Lt. Gov. Brad Owen during a joint session of the House and Senate on Wednesday, Jan. 16. Gov. Inslee’s inaugural address outlined his priorities and vision for the future of Washington state.

SBCTC staff have been busy testifying and monitoring hearings of importance to the CTC system as detailed below. Week two of the legislative session is shaping up to be just as busy as the first: CTCs will testify at five committee hearings to discuss the system budget, student achievement, online education, aerospace, and the needs of the energy industry.

Now let’s get to work: Inslee takes the reins

Jay Inslee was sworn in as Washington's 23rd governor Wednesday and reinforced his commitment to creating jobs as the state's "top priority today, tomorrow, and every day for the next four years."

In his inaugural address to a joint session of the Legislature, Inslee said Washington must move swiftly and boldly to put the recession behind us.

Gov. Inslee described his intent to bring "disruptive change" to Olympia and make government more efficient by applying the principles of Lean management.

He said that more than just a measurement tool, Lean is a “culture shift,” with all state agencies rooted in the same three principles:

Ÿ Measure success by the results produced, not the money put in.
Ÿ Know our customers and what they value.
Ÿ Every agency will adopt a unique process for continual improvement that engages state employees.

He called on state employees to be active partners in the Lean process.

“I know how much you have sacrificed. You are on the front lines, figuring out how to do more with less just like every family in Washington right now,” Inslee said. “You will be empowered as change agents, and we will need your ingenuity and dedication more than ever.”

Inslee emphasized the need for more STEM education and ensuring students graduate from high school ready to pursue a career or continue on to an apprenticeship or degree program.

Inslee’s economic plan focuses on job growth in seven industry clusters: aerospace, life sciences, military, agriculture, information technology, clean energy, technology and the maritime trades.

“Science, technology, engineering and math are just as important to the next generation as the three Rs were to my generation. They are the essential tools for success in this new economy,” he said. “We need to invest more where we get the biggest return, in high-quality early learning programs. We need a system that aligns from early learning to kindergarten to 12th grade to our universities. Accountability must be present at every level.”

In closing, Inslee said he looks forward to “having a real dialog with the Legislature in the coming weeks on how we best put our ingenuity to work to meet the challenges before us — on creating jobs, educating our children, changing how we do business in state government and creating a culture of leading the world in energy independence.”

“Now let’s get to work.”


Ÿ Gov. Inslee’s Inaugural Address: read PDF or watch on TVW at 55:15
Ÿ Governor’s key issues: Economy, Education, Government Reform, Health Care
Ÿ Lean in Washington state government

Elevate aerospace training, says Pipeline Advisory Committee

Washington must ramp up aerospace training to meet critical labor shortages and stay ahead in the global aerospace race, according to testimony before the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 16. The hearing focused on the first annual report of the Washington Aerospace Advanced Materials Manufacturing Workforce Pipeline Advisory Committee. The Legislature created the committee in 2012 to monitor the aerospace industry’s employment needs and work with industry partners and the community and technical college system to meet the demand.

Alex Pietsch, director of the Governor’s Office of Aerospace, and Bryan Wilson, deputy director of the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, summarized the report. Among the findings:

Ÿ 1,248 aerospace-related companies in Washington support about 128,000 jobs statewide.
Ÿ Aerospace occupations are expected to grow by 6.2 percent per year, based on survey responses from employers – a higher rate than national economic models currently suggest.
Ÿ Toolmaker and metal worker are the occupations with the highest growth rate, but engineers and machinists are the most difficult positions to fill.
Ÿ Community and technical college graduates who go to work in the aerospace-related firms earn just under $47,000 per year.

Jackie Davis of AMI Metals, chairwoman of the Pipeline Advisory Committee, warned that Washington must continue to stand apart in the aerospace industry. “Every time we’re high-fiving about some award we’ve won, such as the 737 MAX, (other states) are sitting back and basically putting a big old target on us,” she said. “They’re learning by what we’re doing; both the good things and the bad things.”

Jim Crabbe, SBCTC workforce education director, outlined the community and technical college system’s pivotal role in the aerospace industry. From 2006 to 2011, two-year colleges produced 37 percent more trained aerospace workers. Twenty-four colleges now offer aerospace training across the state, including two regional training centers – one in Everett and the other in Spokane. The Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Materials Manufacturing at Everett Community College works with the aerospace industry to develop curriculum, attract grant funding, and represent Washington aerospace interests nationally and internationally.

Ben Hempstead of Electroimpact, the Pipeline Advisory Committee’s legislative subcommittee chair, identified five report recommendations:

Ÿ Aerospace student slots – 500 new FTEs in high-demand fields (machine maintenance and testing; quality assurance; and composite materials manufacturing and repair).
Ÿ Credentials and certifications – a pilot project to test and “credential” students for specific industry skills that match employer hiring standards -- much like an industry-based stamp of approval.
Ÿ Professional faculty development – Improving faculty knowledge of aerospace needs and discoveries.
Ÿ Marketing to industry/Center for Excellence – Mapping out academic pathways from high school to a career.
Ÿ Central Sound aerospace training facility – Establishing a training center in Renton to fill aerospace jobs along the central Puget Sound corridor.

Many of these recommendations were included in former Gov. Gregoire’s 2013-2015 proposed operating budget.

SBCTC executive director, college presidents discuss priorities

The Jan. 16 hearing of the House Higher Education Committee focused on higher education priorities for 2013. Marty Brown, SBCTC executive director, gave an overview of the community and technical college system, highlighting a steep increase in degrees and certificates despite budget cuts. “We are working feverishly to improve our completions and job placements…from 2007 to 2012, in those years of budget cuts…the number of degrees and certificates completed in the CTC system increased by 46 percent,” he said.

Brown summarized the system’s legislative priorities, which includes tuition affordability, investments in high-demand degree programs, financial aid, online course materials, funding capital projects, and streamlined job training programs. He identified investments in faculty and staff as another priority. “We have not been able to give salary increases,” Brown said. “We know that is a pressing need throughout the system.”

Dr. Christine Johnson, Community Colleges of Spokane chancellor, shared how community and technical colleges strengthen their communities through local partnerships and creative solutions. She said instituting Lean governing principles allowed the colleges to cut costs and redirect funding to students and classrooms. “We are known for being effective, efficient and entrepreneurial,” Johnson said.

Community Colleges of Spokane partners with local school districts, the Spokane Workforce Development Council, and local businesses to better serve job-seekers and the community. They also support the local health care industry by producing certificates and degrees that meet employer needs. “CCS has the largest array of health programs second [only] to Miami-Dade,” said Johnson.

Dr. David Mitchell, Olympic College president, testified that community and technical colleges fuel economic growth. “I want to emphasize the important role community and technical colleges play in providing the workforce that’s needed to move our economy,” Mitchell said. He underscored the system’s legislative priority of restoring and increasing high-demand programs to get students into good jobs available now. “We need to be strategic about ramping up access in areas where you can train folks for real jobs that do exist,” he said.

The Council of Presidents and four-year universities presented legislative priorities that included financial aid and tuition rates.

Link to testimony.

Preview of next week’s Leg News

The January 23 edition of Leg News will include summaries of the following committee hearings:

Monday, January 21
House Capital Budget (1:30 pm)
Work session: capital budget
Senate Ways and Means (3:30 pm)
Work session: higher education budget

Tuesday, January 22
Senate Higher Education (1:30 pm)
Work session: student achievement initiative

Thursday, January 24
House Education (8:00 am)
Work session: Core to College project
Senate Higher Education (1:30 pm)
Work session: online education

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Legislature Gets to Work

The Legislature is wasting no time getting back to work. Committees are meeting on a variety of higher education issues including tuition, funding for high-demand programs, financial aid, and online instruction. Gov. Gregoire gave her final State of the State address Tuesday, highlighting key accomplishments during the past eight years. Gov.-elect Inslee was sworn into office today; his remarks will be included in Friday’s post.

House testimony highlights WSAC, student achievement, transparency

House Higher Education Committee Chair Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, shared an ambitious 6-week meeting schedule focusing on a skilled workforce, college affordability, accessibility, and innovation.  

Brian Baird, chairman of the Washington Student Achievement Council, highlighted five priorities that are guiding WSAC’s work: readiness, affordability, technology, funding, and efficiency. WSAC’s outreach strategy includes engaging students, faculty, employers, agencies, and other organizations across the state.

Marty Brown, SBCTC executive director and WSAC member, reaffirmed the community and technical college system’s collaboration on the council and summarized the system’s mission:  educating more people to higher levels of skills and knowledge.  “That’s what it should be about…the well over 500,000 students who participate in higher education in our state.”

The Washington Student Association shared the four-year colleges’ legislative priorities including the repeal of differential tuition, tuition affordability, and assistance for veterans.

The CTC system was well represented by students from the newly formed Washington Community and Technical College Student Association (WACTCSA). WACTCSA’s 2013 legislative agenda has two major components: redefine basic education to include associate of arts degrees and regulate data reporting standards.

Kailene Sparrs, president, Associated Students of Clover Park Technical College, stressed the unique demographics of CTC students and the importance of keeping college affordable. She urged the Legislature to support community and technical colleges as part of basic education given the changing economy and the need for skilled workers. A high school diploma, she said, no longer provides the necessary skills and abilities to get a family wage job.

“The return on investment on students in the CTC system is amazing,” Kailene said. “[There are] so many demographics of students in our system ... an affordable education is really what holds us together.”

Nate Oelrich, student activities vice president, Associated Students of Clover Park Technical College, recommended regulating data reporting standards to increase transparency in for-profit two-year colleges. He shared WACTCSA’s position that for-profit colleges whose students are eligible for the State Need Grant should adhere to the same reporting requirements as public community and technical colleges. Nate testified, “Regulating data reporting…creates a culture of evidence and greatly increases the transparency in these institutions.”

Link to testimony.  

Gov. Gregoire says final goodbye

Gov. Chris Gregoire delivered her final State of the State address Tuesday before a joint session of the Legislature, reflecting on her eight years in office and urging lawmakers to continue to make funding education and our state’s transportation infrastructure their main priority.

“This Legislature must give our children what we were given – good schools, good teachers and the chance to be part of the world economy,” Gregoire said. “If education is the heart of our economic future, transportation is the backbone.”

Gregoire reflected on eight years of success – looking back at action and legislation to improve the lives of all Washingtonians amidst the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Among other things, Gregoire highlighted work to invest in early learning programs, provide business tax relief to spur job growth, and increase enrollment at colleges and universities.

“We made the best decisions for our two- and four-year colleges to keep the doors open to more students and more opportunity,” she said. “We increased enrollment in our community and technical colleges by 31,000 students and launched online learning.”

She noted that 24 community and technical colleges provide training for aerospace jobs, directly supporting a key driver of Washington’s economy.

“The Great Recession has severely tested our higher education system. We had tuition increases because we had to,” she said. “We had no choice. We had to maintain our values, quality and access.”

“Our future is at stake, Gregoire said. “We must fully fund a seamless education system from early learning through higher education.

To read Gregoire’s entire State of the State address, visit: http://www.governor.wa.gov/news/20130115_sos.pdf.

Preview of Friday Leg News

The January 18 edition of Leg News will include highlights from additional committee hearings as well as Gov.-elect Inslee’s inaugural speech.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Legislative Session Begins

The gavels have sounded! The 2013 Legislature kicked off its 105-day session today with swearing in ceremonies and a Senate rule change that shifted power to a majority coalition caucus made up of 23 Republicans and two Democrats. This session promises to be challenging. The state budget is already $1 billion in the hole, prior to making the down payment required by the Supreme Court to boost K-12 funding. Some lawmakers place the down payment at about $1 billion next biennium, bringing the budget gap to about $2 billion.

In addition, one-sixth of the Legislature is comprised of new members elected to the House and Senate this past fall. This means new committee chairs and in some cases, new leadership roles.

The SBCTC government relations team will keep you posted on all committee hearings, proposed legislation, and other details important to our colleges and students. This session we’re changing “Leg News” to a twice-weekly blog to deliver fast-breaking news. Stay tuned!

This week in Legislative News

You will find the hearings we are tracking for this week in the hearing schedule, located at the link on the left-side toolbar. Here are a few we expect to highlight in the January 16 edition of Leg News:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

House Higher Education Committee (8:00 am)

Work session: Washington Student Achievement Council, higher education priorities for 2013 session

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

House Labor and Workforce Development Committee (8:00 am)

Work session: Update on Washington’s support of aerospace

House Higher Education (1:30 pm)

Work session: Higher education priorities for 2013 session

News, notebook, resources

Legislative News

Legislative News will be published Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the legislative session. Information will be posted at this blog and State Board members, trustees, college presidents, public information officers, and LISTSERV subscribers will be notified via e-mail when editions are published. You may subscribe or unsubscribe to SBCTC Leg News at any time.

Legislative Notebook

The SBCTC Legislative Notebook includes general legislative information, House and Senate member listings, committee lists, and more.


At the SBCTC Legislative Session page, you can find legislative resources for the community and technical college system, including past and current session materials, legislative summaries, policy briefs, bill status, hearing schedules, link to TVW, and more.