|Quick, decide what's more important: a new building to train nurses
in Everett, or a new building for the same purpose in Lakewood.
There aren't enough nursing classes at Clover Park Technical
College to handle demand. The waiting list is 18 months long, President
John Walstrum said. But up at Everett Community College, the health
building is more than 40 years old. Classes there have wait lists too.
If that choice is hard, now add dozens of similar projects jostling
for attention in a growing state two-year college system. Luckily, the
college presidents have a way to rank those projects so they can share,
not squabble over, a shrinking pot of state money.
"It keeps 34 presidents from going down there and lobbying for
their individual projects," said David Mitchell, president of Olympic
College and chairman of the committee that spearheads the prioritization
process. "(Lawmakers) love it because we're not arguing with each
Gov. Chris Gregoire, though, has added a sour note to that harmony.
Her budget proposal scrambles the community college system's ranked
list, using different criteria to decide which projects should win
funding. Everett (the system's No. 12 priority) makes it. Clover Park
(No. 11) doesn't.