Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Can we do more with less?

That’s the ultimate question most organizations are constantly trying to answer in this new economy.
In the last three years, revenue shortfalls have forced the legislature to cut over $10 billion in state spending.

Although all state agencies have taken dramatic cuts to their budgets over the last three years, they still have essential functions to perform. They’ve had no choice but to find ways to perform their duties with fewer resources.
Our institutions of higher education have stepped up to this difficult challenge and implemented several efficiencies across their campuses. To site a few examples:  
  • The University of Washington has reduced its administrative units by sixteen percent. Both UW and WWU have eliminated over 40 academic programs at their campuses.

  • Washington State University has eliminated over 1,000 courses from the course catalog and reduced or eliminated 25 degrees.

  • Our community and technical colleges are also becoming more efficient through expanding open course libraries, reducing the need for remedial courses, and streamlining college assessments and placements.

With another $1.5 billion shortfall looming, additional cuts are likely. House Democrats are continuing to find ways to streamline government. 

Today, the House Higher Education Committee heard testimony on House Bill 2585 - a bill sponsored by Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland) - that would give colleges and universities more flexibility with certain aspects of their operations such as competitive bidding and payroll direct deposit.
“HB 2585 helps our higher education system act more responsibly and efficiently,” said Springer.
Margaret Shepherd with the University of Washington stated in testimony in support of HB 2585 that it would lead to over $1 million in savings annually at the UW. 

To read this story in Spanish, click here.