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Governor's Decision Helps
Struggling State Institutions
With higher education institutions in the state struggling to shoulder their part of a
$20 million budget shortfall, Governor Dirk Kempthorne today announced a stop-gap measure
to stem the fallout in state jobs and services.
To make up for the $20 million shortfall in the last half of fiscal 2001, Kempthorne will
ask the Idaho Legislature to not contribute to the state's Budget Stabilization Fund,
commonly referred to as the Rainy Day Fund. Instead, the money will be diverted to help
cushion the budgetary blow to state agencies.
Lewis-Clark State College, like its sister institutions around the state, stood to lose
funding that translated into personnel and programs. That prospect sent administrators,
faculty and students alike into planning sessions to look for ways to address the
In November, the State Board of Education approved a request from institution heads to ask
for a 12% increase in student fees; however, Idaho colleges and universities were still
looking at substantial changes in program offerings and reductions in personnel, as a
result of budget holdbacks.
"Like most every state in the nation, Idaho certainly is feeling the effects of the
national recession," Kempthorne said, "I have stressed the importance of
alerting state agencies and the legislature as early as possible to any changes in the
economy or our state's revenue."
Kempthorne said that any additional holdback orders would begin to negatively impact state
services. If agencies had been asked to cover the shortfall, they would have had to cut
more from their budgets. "Those kinds of impacts this late in the budget year would
start to affect essential services that our citizens and students rely upon,"
In response to Kempthorne's action, LCSC President Dene Thomas said she applauded the
governor's choice to divert money from the Rainy Day Fund. "This is welcome news
coming in the face of yet another possible holdback order," she said. "Of
course, this doesn't mean we stop our strategic planning
We still have many hurdles
to clear in order to continue providing top a quality education experience to students. At
least we have a few moments to catch our breath."
Thomas says she will forge ahead with planning and reorganization efforts to allow the
college to accommodate its increasing numbers of students. "It's unfortunate we're
facing a real budget crunch at the same time our enrollment numbers are up," she
said. "But we're going to keep the quality that gave us our number one (US News and
World Report) ranking, and we're going to turn over every stone to find ways to maintain
the quality personnel and programs we have."