In Olympia Kitsap-based legislators reacted quickly to Andrew Binion’s story about Gov. Chris Gregoire’s response on higher ed to a Bremerton city councilman.
In the letter, dated Feb. 27, Gregoire said her budget request did not include the money partly because of a plan to build a branch campus of the University of Washington in Snohomish County.
“Significantly expanding higher education into other areas of the state at the same time would unwisely stretch the resources of both operating and capital budgets,” Gregoire said in the letter, which was signed in ink and included the handwritten note: “Let’s visit this issue in 2009!”
Several legislators penned a letter to Gregoire trying to clear up any connection between the $212,000 Kitsap effort and the billion-dollar effort to get a UW branch campus in Snohomish county.
“We fear that there was an assumption that we were setting a course for a branch campus for our area and that is not the case.”
The letter clarified that the Kitsap effort is designed meet employers and students’ needs, establishing a “university center” concept. This year’s money would continue a study already begun locally.
The governor responded that she was willing to support the concept.
Legislators were thrilled when they got the letter. Now it’s a question of whether House leaders will acquiesce to the request, since it didn’t make that chamber’s budget.