Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Grants & Funding’ Category

Washington State Parks ranks high in visits, vs. U.S. peers

by Matt Rosenberg August 27th, 2012

Washington State Parks ranked sixth out of 50 systems for combined day and overnight visitors, according to the 2012 Annual Information Exchange report prepared for the National Association of State Parks Directors (NASPD) by researchers at North Carolina State University. It is the most recent available; the next version will be published early next year. It shows that despite having just 120,555 acres, less than half the average for state parks systems nationwide, Washington State Parks from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 drew 38.8 million patrons, more than any other states except California, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Illinois.

Audit: oversight lax for alt. ed students in Yakima

by John Stang August 1st, 2012

A state audit said Yakima County’s East Valley school district improperly collected $66,717 in state money for an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) program serving home-based students via computers, by failing to exercise required oversight ensuring the students were adequately participating. In violation of funding conditions, the district didn’t document that many students in ALE were actually making adequate progress, or putting in required hours of work. In some cases, ALE students failed to make contact with district staff for at least 20 days, also in violation of state funding rules. Some of those students had left the program but were still being counted as participants. Overall, full due diligence monitoring wasn’t performed for half the students in the district’s ALE program in 2010, nor for 70 percent in 2011, according to the audit.

WA eyes new U.S. transpo bill funds, but with questions

by John Stang July 18th, 2012

The passage of a new two-year $100 billion-plus federal transportation funding bill by Congress June 29 is expected to bring roughly $652 million to Washington state in 2013 and $657 million in 2014, compared to roughly $652 million for 2012, according to federal Department of Transportation estimates. But the new law is an authorization bill – meaning Congress still has to actually appropriate the money later when each fiscal year rolls around. Most telling, that $1.309 billion in the next two years is a tiny drop in the bucket, compared to the $50 billion that a blue ribbon panel appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire said in January that the state needs to raise to maintain and strategically improve surface transportation infrastructure in the next ten years (Page 3, here ). That’s so, even compared to the “lowered expectations” scenario in the task force report, which urges raising at least $21 billion in the next decade for the state’s road and transit systems. A poster child for Washington’s transportation funding shortfall is the new State Route 520 bridge, now under construction. It is still about $2 billion short of the needed funding, which totals more than $4 billion.

Green tourism campaign eyes fewer cars to San Juans

by Matt Rosenberg July 16th, 2012

It’s a Pacific Northwest ritual endured by visitors, newcomers and even old-timers who should know better. Book a trip to one of the idyllic San Juan Islands served by the Washington State Ferries’ stolid vehicle-bearing vessels. Then wait for hours in line at the mainland dock in Anacortes, and plot a better strategy for next time. Rinse, and repeat a few summers later. A consortium of San Juans government, tourism, and non-profit officials say there’s a better way, or at least some painless alternatives that warrant stronger promotion. So at a presentation to the Friday Harbor, Wash. Town Council July 19, leaders of the San Juan Islands Scenic Byways Partnership will discuss their plans to accent car-free travel to the popular vacation spots of San Juan Island and Orcas Island, aided by a new, two-year $171,000 alternative transportation grant from the America’s Byways office of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Atop Mount Constitution, Orcas Island/San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau

The new grant to promote transportation alternatives comes at a timely juncture.

Seattle Community Colleges seek help to improve image

by Matt Rosenberg May 31st, 2012

Last winter in the wake of contentious anti-corporate protests led on its Capitol Hill central campus by Occupy Seattle, Seattle Community College District officials were beginning to grapple with proposed legislation from its teachers union that was introduced in sympathy with Occupy’s goals.

A “Resolution In Support of Business Practices Congruent with The Message of the Occupy Movement” was raised for preliminary consideration by Seattle Central Community College instructor and teachers union leader Karen Strickland at the board’s January meeting and then discussed in a February board study session. It called for the district to adopt an ethical purchasing policy and also condemned district vendors such as the Bank of America, and the Georgia Pacific paper company owned by the controversial conservatives, The Koch Brothers.

RFP for banking services could result in replacement of B of A
The resolution authored by the American Federation of Teachers, and the board’s preliminary discussions, have’t yet resulted in a district purchasing policy emphasizing corporate responsibility, but the district did quietly serve notice – in a staff memo on page 86 of its May meeting agenda packet – that it will be issuing a request for proposals for banking services and appointing a related evaluation committee. This could pave the way for replacement of Bank of America as the district’s banking services vendor. The company is reviled by Occupy protestors for what they characterize as B of A’s evasion of corporate taxes.

Contractor currently being sought to help the district re-brand
But at the same time it tries to respond to student and faculty concerns about ethical business practices, the district also wants to repaint the face it presents to potential enrollees and donors. lt is looking for a public relations advisor to do three months work for up to $50,000 this summer – to lay the groundwork for burnishing its brand image.

In anticipation of a major fundraising drive approaching in 2017, one that will surely depend on corporate and philanthropic largesse to compensate for declining government funding, the three-school district of two-year community colleges within Seattle’s city limits has issued a request for proposals from prospective bidders titled, “Positioning, Visibility and Brand Development.”