DATE: April 14, 2011
CONTACT: Lisa Skari: (206) 870-3705, email@example.com
Highline Community College hit by another round of budget cuts
DES MOINES, Wash. —In a campus-wide email sent out today, Highline Community College administrators announced budget cuts for the upcoming academic year. Highline faces a cut of $1.86 million in addition to the already more than $3.5 million in reductions taken since 2009.
The current round of cuts will result in the elimination of 22 positions across the campus, bringing the total to 72 positions lost since 2009. These figures do not include reductions made to part-time faculty and staff, cutbacks that further strain institutional capacity and result in fewer classes and diminished services for students.
Other reductions will impact instructional equipment and supplies.
“The state remains in the difficult position of developing a budget that invests in Washington’s competitiveness and its future. As a result, the college must make tough choices that affect access and capacity,” said Highline President Jack Bermingham. “Our priority is to protect our capacity and to preserve the quality and core mission of the college.”
Academic programs will be affected. The college’s Adult Basic Education and English-as-a-Second-Language programs will be reduced by 10 percent, significantly reducing summer and community-based offerings for prospective students.
In addition, the print production program will be suspended. The college remains committed to teaching out the print production degree for currently enrolled students, though the program will not admit new students.
The state’s level of support for the college’s operating budget is currently about $25 million, including a one-time 2010-11 worker retraining allocation of about $830,000. The proposed budgets under review by the Washington State Legislature will substantially reduce this amount of support.
“Recognizing that the state’s budget crisis calls for careful management of taxpayer dollars and student tuition, we have done our best to leverage other resources and capture all efficiencies without compromising quality,” said Bermingham. “We have been scrutinizing expenditures and hiring decisions.”
The Washington State Legislature and the Governor Chris Gregoire have provided additional resources to offset part of the reductions by increasing tuition.
“The public shift in viewing higher education as a ‘private benefit’ more than a ‘public good’ will place a huge burden on students and families to pay for college. I fear this trend will reduce both access to higher education and Washington state’s future competitiveness,” Bermingham said.
Highline Community College was founded in 1961 as the first community college in King County. With approximately 18,900 students and 350,000 alumni, it is one of the state’s largest institutions of higher education. The college offers a wide range of academic transfer and professional-technical education programs, with day, evening and weekend classes. Alumni include former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, entrepreneur Junki Yoshida and Washington state poet laureate Sam Green.