The legislature came to a close yesterday. Budgets were determined and numbers were published. Over the last few months, I have felt a bit beleaguered by our great democracy as I spent many-a-day in Olympia. I just wondered if all the work would make a difference for Cascadia. Today I can report that, yes, it did make a difference.
Starting next year, the reimbursement rates for the Running Start program will begin to climb to match that of our state-supported students. This is GREAT news. It will give us more financial flexibility to meet the needs of our campus. This was a down-to-the-wire decision. As of Wednesday, I still didn’t know if our message had been heard. To get the money, we had to sacrifice a $9M backfill request for compensation left out of last year’s budget for the CTC system. The Running Start money was worth more and so a trade was made. We won a lot, and lost a little. I’ll take that.
We received our design money for CC4, over $3M. Terence and Kim are now starting to outline the process of design that we will begin this summer. This is GREAT news. I’m not sure when our construction money will come, but getting the design money gets us on the right path.
We received $300,000 for a biotech initiative I have been stewarding. This money is allocated to Cascadia such that we can bring UWB, the City of Bothell, and the Canyon Park Biotech companies together to develop a workforce plan. We will be the steering group which will help 7 institutions of higher education and 12 biotech companies work together to fill the 1,000 jobs we expect to become available in this region over the next 2 years. This is GREAT news.
As you revel in the GREAT news, allow me to remind you that the Truly Express and off-campus parking lot will not be available next quarter. We will be piloting valet parking on the south surface lot for the first two weeks of Spring Quarter to test out a new system. This new system is a net increase in space, and hopefully a net decrease in hassle. I ask for patience as we try this out. Details can be found on the commuter services page.
Other things that happened this week: The Navigators met and spent a lot of time discussing campus Race Politics, a term I learned from Soraya. We continue to wade through various national and local issues that surround our students and campus. The Pluralism Committee met and discussed campus safety and how we respond to campus incidents. (The Special Letter I promised will be published today.) I attended the LGBTQ+ club meeting this week in response to their invitation to faculty and staff to hear about issues they face. The club, plus a separate suggestion to the Navigators, brought up how there is a cultural change happening in the English language surrounding the use of pronouns. This is something for us to think about as we pride ourselves on being progressive thinkers. More on this soon. And the UW Board of Regents met this week on campus. Again, by invitation, I joined them and the UW leadership for lunch.
There is a lot going on and a lot to come. We had a good week. Have a great weekend.