Amid growth, CWI pushes for state funding

Bert Glandon used the art of self-deprecation Tuesday.

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Bert Glandon, president of the College of Western Idaho

The College of Western Idaho president boasted to legislative budget-writers that his school is debt-free. “Part of the reason is we don’t own anything.”

The ubiquitous pie chart may be a standard menu item in any budget presentation, but Glandon said his fledgling school had to start with “muffin charts” and work its way up.

One-liners aside, Glandon also lobbied the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee to fund several line items at the state’s fastest-growing college.

The biggest items on the CWI wish list:

  •  $4.2 million for additional faculty, which would create 30 full-time equivalent positions.
  • $1.25 million that would cover CWI’s virtual campus (the college already offers six degrees fully online), compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, tutoring and remedial services.
  •  $991,100 to purchase leased facilities.
  •  $783,500 for Enrollment Workload Adjustment, a payment designed to cover a school’s enrollment growth. The EWA is based on a three-year enrollment average — and, as Glandon reminded JFAC members, CWI has finally been open long enough to have a three-year enrollment average.

Approved by Ada and Canyon county voters in 2007, CWI has grown rapidly since its January 2009 opening. In the fall of 2012, 9,107 students attended credit courses at CWI, compared with fall 2009 enrollment of 3,618.

Like College of Southern Idaho president Jerry Beck, who also made his JFAC presentation Tuesday, Glandon said community colleges are a bargain to the state.  This, in turn, makes the two-year colleges an affordable alternative, as Idaho seeks to encourage high-school graduates to continue their studies.

In 2011-12, Idaho’s four-year schools received $5,545 per student from the state’s general fund. Community colleges — funded by state dollars, student fees and local property taxes — received $1,915 in state money per student.