Message from President Shari McMahan sent on Monday, May 8.
Dear campus colleagues,
The 2023 legislative session ended on April 23, and we are pleased with the big wins that EWU secured in the state capital and operating budgets for the 2023-2025 biennium, which starts July 1. I’d like to start by thanking David Buri, Sam Ligon, and all those who advocated and/or testified in support of EWU’s legislative funding needs. It is a team effort to keep EWU moving forward, and I am impressed by our performance this year.
We are particularly pleased with the funding provided in the state’s capital budget, which appropriates funds for construction and repair projects. The final budget provides us with $58M over the biennium to complete the renovation of the science building. This has been a multi-phased project, and we are excited to receive the funding that will allow us to finish the work. We also received $12M to address infrastructure renewal projects that will help us by reducing significant backlogs of maintenance issues and bringing buildings into compliance with new energy efficiency standards. Finally, we received our $350,000 request for the Martin and Williamson halls predesign. The predesign kicks off a multi-year process of design and construction funding requests. In addition to these three projects, we also received additional allocations earmarked for facility preservation, preventative maintenance, the Lucy Covington initiative, and the upgrading of our district energy system (HB1390). Our capital budgeting requests will continue to reflect our commitment to address our needs across all campus programs and services.
The state’s operating budget also saw great news for EWU. About $6.6M was allocated for cost of living increases for EWU employees. This increase was one of our top priorities and also brings the state’s salary contributions up to 70%, from last budget’s 62%. This biennium funding is distributed across employment groups as negotiated by union leaders. For individual questions about salary increases, please contact HR or your union representative. In addition to the cost of living increase, EWU also received $4.6M for our new nursing program. This program will help address a critical workforce need, and we are pleased the state committed to this funding which will address start-up and on-going costs. EWU will also be receiving allocated funds through the passage of bills: SB 5048 regarding the elimination of College in the High School fees and HB 1559 regarding the requirement for universities to create hunger-free and basic needs campus strategic plans.
It is important to note that EWU’s current financial challenges are not alleviated by this year’s state budget. The dollars received are allocated for specific programs and services and are not able to be used to address our current operating deficit. While we celebrate our success, we must continue our work to realign our institution’s financials.
Again, thank you to everyone who helped advocate for EWU’s success this legislative session. Discussions have already begun on how we can continue to use state funding requests to strengthen EWU and advance our mission and goals moving forward.
Dr. Shari McMahan
President, Eastern Washington University