2023 Legislative Update

Hello Folks! 

 As you have hopefully heard the legislative session wrapped up on Saturday and while we did not get the salary increase we were hoping to achieve this session we did get some significant victories and there will be some new $$ flowing to our campus. This email will detail the budget changes that may impact our campus. I’ll follow up soon with an update on specific legislation that has passed and what impacts it may have and once the WEA lobbyists have gone through all 1143 pages (!) of the budget – there will likely be a few line items that got slipped in at the last minute that will impact Bellevue specifically and I’ll follow up with those as well. 

 So today – it’s Broad strokes for BC specifically

 The BIG NEWS is that College Faculty will receive an 8.9% COLA starting in July 1st, and a 5.87% COLA in July 2024. AND this COLA will be FULLY FUNDED 100% by the general Fund!!!!! 

This is huge win and I believe that the lobbying WEA did with the College Presidents and AFT really made a difference – and this is a change that should be permanent going forward. I also think that this happened in large part due to Gary Locke’s efforts – we owe his a big thank you for leading the lobbying efforts on this. This means nearly $55 Million in additional dollars going to the CTCs, roughly $5,000,000 to BC. This isn’t ‘new money’ in the sense that it is bargainable as ‘new money’ – but it is money that the College’s receives and can be used as they (and we through normal bargaining) determine. Bellevue College has been basing their budget projections on this money not being available – and now it is. Bellevue will be able to adjust their gloomy budget projections for next year which should mean that some of the proposed budget cuts won’t need to happen.

 While we did not make any progress on a general salary increase, I think it is important to acknowledge that nearly every State employee group (Exempt, K-12, WPEA, WFSE) will be getting a smaller COLA (4-6%) than us.

Capital Project Operating Costs–$167,000 approved for operations and maintenance of new facilities that will be partially or fully completed during the 2023-25 biennium 

 Adjunct Faculty Parity Bill—SBCTC has to develop a plan to provide compensation to part-time and adjunct faculty that equals or exceeds 85 percent of the compensation provided to comparably qualified full-time and tenured faculty by the 2026-27 academic year. This has no money attached to it – but it should provide us with the $$ amount parity will actually cost – which may help our lobbying efforts in the future. 

 Dual Credit Program Support -$7.74 million to provide free College in High School courses to Students. This may increase the number of CiHS students taking courses at BC which may bring in new money, or it may reduce our Running Start enrollments – we don’t know how this is going to impact us yet – but it allows us to open up bargaining around CiHS compensation for involved faculty. 

 CTC CiHS pilot – $700,000 for the pilot program that is increasing the CTE offerings in CiHS, BC faculty are involved in this pilot already and this may provide new $$ for BC to expand that program

 Student Supports – there was a LOT of interest in making College access easier for students this year, and this resulted in a number of new programs and increases to existing programs. These programs should increase enrollments at all the CTCs – by how much? Who knows? Which campuses receive these funds will generally be determined by the SBCTC through an allocation model to be determined. 

 Postsecondary Student Needs Funding-$5.24 million is provided to implement Second Substitute House Bill 1559 (Postsecondary student needs), and hire 0.75 FTE benefits navigator per CTC campus and a food pilot at 4 college districts.  

 Nursing Education and Support – $9.1 million 

CTC’s Nurse Supply Funding-$882,000 is provided for the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) to develop a plan to train more nurses and to design and implement an online curriculum and pathway to earn a licensed practical nursing credential, as provided in Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5582 (Nurse supply). Colleges will need to apply to access this money. 

 CTC’s Nursing Education Funding–$3.6 million is provided to increase the number of slots in nursing programs by 200 in the 2023-25 biennium. Not sure yet what process will be used to determine which campus these slots will go to.

 Faculty Conversions- $4.6 million to continue to implement the provisions in Chapter 272, Laws of 2021 (E2SSB 5194). This is money that was given out in the past to add 12 new positions at BC – this is NOT new money just money to continue to fund those positions 

 New Enrollments/Programs–a variety of programs including computer science, public health, journalism, social work and teacher residency. 

 CTC’s Refugee Education $3 million is provided for adult education for refugees and immigrants who have arrived in the state on or after July 1, 2021, and are eligible for federal refugee resettlement services, including those from Afghanistan and Ukraine. Not sure how this money will be allocated. 

 DEI Initiatives- $4.2million at CTCs is provided for SBCTC to continue to implement diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) provisions in Chapter 275, Laws of 2021 (E2SSB 5227). Not new money, but BC will continue to receive the funds we were allocated in 2021

 PEBB contract is funded. Monthly employer rates for the next two fiscal years are budgeted at $1,160 and $1,233 per employee per month. 

Funding is provided for a standalone vision benefit in PEBB non-Medicare health plans beginning in plan year 2025 for a 100 percent employer paid benefit. This should provide higher vision benefit levels at lower cost and align with the School Employees’ Benefits Board (SEBB) in teh near future.

That’s it for today. Hopefully I will have parts 2 and 3 soon. Thank you for all of you who lobbied this year, came to Olympia, wrote letters and spoke to legislators. We have created some momentum in Olympia and established a good working relationship with SBCTC and the WACTC which I think will serve us well going into next year and the following biennium.
Lastly, I’d like to make a big THANK YOU to our WEA lobbyist Simone Boe. This session had literally hundreds of education-related bills that she had to track down, research, lobby for or against, educate and update us on. I imagine she is pretty tired this week and I hope she can get a bit of a break (after she reads through the 1143 page budget).

Sue Nightingale 

BCAHE President/WEA-HE Chair
Bellevue College