PULLMAN, Wash.–Enhancements for student learning throughout the Washington State University system are included in the 1998 supplemental operating budget proposal unveiled Monday by Gov. Gary Locke.
Locke’s budget plan would provide WSU with $3 million for 1998-99, with little additional costs to the taxpayers. The additional funding would be offset by reductions in the 1997-99 biennial budget resulting from lower appropriations for enrollments.
The governor recommends $750,000 for faculty assistance and equipment to effectively use more technology in traditional classrooms and through distance learning. This funding for the Center for Teaching and Learning will provide training for faculty in teaching effectively with technology and will support redesigning portions of the curriculum. The governor also designated WSU’s Center for Teaching and Learning to provide support for faculty at the state regional universities and Evergreen State College.
The supplemental proposal also includes $700,000 for technical operating costs of the proposed K-20 telecommunications network, and $1.9 million to cover university legal costs associated with representation by the state attorney general’s office.
WSU Provost Gretchen Bataille noted the fiscal impact on state government of $3 million in WSU enhancements will be almost invisible because the governor accepted revised enrollment targets proposed this fall by WSU which saved about $2.7 million in general fund appropriations approved by the 1997 Legislature.
The new targets reduce the 1998-99 enrollment projections by 511 students, while still allowing substantial growth in Pullman and throughout the WSU system, Bataille said. The Pullman campus will be allowed to grow by 399 students to 17,272 for the next fiscal year beginning next fall. WSU Tri-Cities will be allowed to grow 79 students next year; WSU Vancouver, 120 students; and WSU Spokane, 154 students.
The governor’s capital budget proposal for WSU provides $3 million in one-time funding to cover funding shortfalls for necessary repairs to electrical systems, plumbing, ventilation and other needs in buildings and facilities.
Bataille said while the university is supportive of the governor’s initiatives, it is disappointed the governor did not address additional needs for which supplemental appropriations had been requested. WSU, with other higher education institutions, has asked the state to provide a special appropriation for distinguished professorships, graduate student fellowships and other programs through a Higher Education Endowment.
WSU also sought $1.085 million for electronic and video equipment necessary to deliver additional programs to off-campus locations in Colville, Wenatchee, Puyallup and North Seattle and to originate more classes from the Pullman campus for the K-20 system. The university also requested a $1 million capital appropriation for work on Johnson Hall’s aged ventilating system.