Bill to offer four year degrees at BC on hold in legislature

The bills that would grant the college the authorization to offer more four-year degrees (In addition to their current one-degree pilot program) have been put on hold in the state legislature.

“We were focused primarily on companion bills HB1726 and SB5575: Creating Bellevue College,” said Lucinda Taylor,  executive assistant to the president.

Washington State House of Representatives Office of Program Research Bill Analysis, and Analysis of Higher Education Committee state HB 1726 with a brief description: Creating Bellevue College. The sponsors on the first reading included: Representatives Maxwell, Anderson, Carlyle, Rodne, Eddy, Springer, Hunter, Clibborn, Goodman, Hasegawa and Hudgins.

“Neither of these bills made it out of committee, though there was a good deal of support,” said Taylor. From the results, the legislature has asked for further research at the state level prior to making a commitment.

“It came down to nearly one vote, most favoring,” said Bob Adams, public information director. “We were enthused that we carried support from so many surrounding people. I would definitely [expect to] see the issue for more bachelor programs and 4 year authority… come up again,”

Other factors of importance brought to the committee were concerning the Running Start program and how “we count students for compensation from the state,” according to Taylor.

“Of primary importance was the budget, but we really don’t have much control over that,” said Taylor. She explained how the continuing economic downturn will certainly take its toll, but the extent of anticipated cuts is yet to be determined.

The next step is for the House and Senate to form a reconciliation committee to merge the two proposals and come out with a joint budget proposal to submit to the Governor.

The official summary of the House bill is as follows:

“Creates Bellevue College, an institution of higher education that is a combination of a community college and a four-year institution. Authorizes Bellevue College to offer workforce degrees and certificates, academic associate and bachelor’s degrees, and the bachelor’s of applied science degree. Retains collectively bargaining practices under rules adopted by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

Retains academic employee eligibility for cost of living increases under Initiative 732.

“Deposits building fees into two separate accounts; fees associated with upper division instruction are directed to the newly created Bellevue College capital projects account; fees associated with lower-division instruction are directed to the Community and Technical College capital projects account. Creates model schools and training departments for teacher education.”

The bill retains student eligibility for the Opportunity Grant program. HB 1726 – DIGEST Designates the college located and established in Bellevue, King county as Bellevue College.

The Senate bill report for SB 5575 as of February 9 is titled: An act relating to creating Bellevue College. Sponsors included are: Senators Jarrett, Pflug, Tom, Oemig and Shin.

Summary of Bill 5575:

“Bellevue College (BC) is established. The trustees for the BCC District become trustees of BC on October 1, 2010, and serve until the expiration of their current terms. BC is authorized to award associate or baccalaureate degrees. In addition to the variety of financial aid available at other four-year institutions, applied to BC students enrolled.

The Senate Bill Report – 1 – SB 5575 states, “This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. It is not a part of the legislation, nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.”
To find summaries of factors relating to the community and technical college system contact, http://www.sbctc.ctc.edu/college/l_index.aspx.

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