Current as of May 20, 2009
I am pleased to report to you that the General Assembly Wednesday overrode the gubernatorial vetoes of the day before, making it clear that both the House and Senate intend for South Carolina’s share of federal state stabilization stimulus funding to be used as Congress intends: to support education. Margins were substantial on all key votes.
While there likely still will be legal challenges before South Carolina public education (both K-12 districts and higher education) have access to those federal stimulus funds, today’s developments mark passage of a major milestone in what has been a long saga in Columbia this year. If the appropriations measure and related provisos adopted by the General Assembly continue to prevail following any court challenges, then Winthrop will receive the same level of state funding received (after cumulative mid-year reductions) this year to use for the new fiscal year that begins July 1. While that still represents almost $6 million lost from state funding since this time last year, federal stimulus funds have been designated for Winthrop to mitigate that loss somewhat. Under the General Assembly’s allocation plan, about $3 million in such federal funds would be released to us once any court issues are resolved.
There are many individuals who should be recognized at this milestone, even as the legal process continues:
- The Senate and House leadership, for their work on behalf of South Carolina being able to use the federal stimulus funds for the purposes Congress intended, over the objections of a governor of their own party affiliation: Sens. Glen McConnell, Harvey Peeler and Sen. Hugh Leatherman, chairman of Senate Finance Committee, and on the House side, House Speaker Bobby Harrell and Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper.
- Members of Winthrop’s Board of Trustees, who have worked in ways too numerous to list to accomplish the same goal.
- All faculty, staff and students of Winthrop University, who have remained focused on the goals that bring us together as a community of learners throughout the academic year, despite having to share respective sacrifices brought about by both the national economic situation and South Carolina’s additionally challenging circumstances.
Work is continuing apace to prepare Winthrop for the academic year to come, even as Summer Session continues. I will keep you apprised of developments as warranted. Meanwhile, best wishes for the upcoming holiday and the summer weeks ahead, wherever they take you.