As it turns out, something can happen when an immoveable object meets an irresistible force.
At Shoreline Community College, it’s called “Resolution No. 126 2013-14 Operating Budget Continuing Authority.”
That’s what the college Board of Trustees decided to do at the June 26, 2013 regular meeting when faced with an unpleasant reality that includes lawmakers in Olympia still struggling to agree on a state budget and a June 30 deadline for both the state and the college budgets.
“This resolution allows the college to continue to operate while the Legislature sorts things out,” Acting President Daryl Campbell said. “We are closely monitoring the progress in Olympia, indeed there could be an agreement announced at any moment. We have prepared multiple budget scenarios based on what we think could happen. However, there is no longer enough time between now and June 30 for us to know what our allocation from the state might be.
“Therefore, our most prudent path at the moment is to move forward with this continuance plan.”
Campbell noted that students have already been informed of the college’s committment to finish summer quarter, which started Monday, June 24, and ends Aug. 15. He also cautioned that the college cannot financially tread water forever.
“Shoreline is fortunate in that over the past five years, during the most difficult days of the recession, we have been able to get our finances in order and establish some reserves,” Campbell said. “The resolution passed today allows us to use non-state funds, basically tuition dollars, and general fund reserves as a bridge. However, the Legislature must act and act soon.”
The college is a state agency, but unlike some other agencies, is not facing immediate shutdown on July 1 if the Legislature doesn’t pass a budget by June 30. College employees are not subject to the current round of furlough notices that went out to some state employees earlier this week.
The next step toward a budget for the college will be taken in Olympia. Once lawmakers act, the funding numbers allocated for community and technical colleges will be transmitted to the state board. From there, each college will learn of its specific allocation of state dollars for the coming fiscal year. At that time, Shoreline staff will prepare a budget for review by the campus community and then make a proposal to the trustees. That presentation could come at yet-to-be scheduled board meeting.