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AGLO 1977 No. 30 - July 15, 1977
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- STATE ‑- STATE BOARD FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION ‑- COMMUNITY COLLEGES ‑- APPROPRIATIONS ‑- EMPLOYEES

The state board for community college education may not use funds from the appropriation contained in § 114, chapter 339, Laws of 1977, 1st Ex.Sess., to fund staff positions in minority affairs in the office of the state board itself.

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                                                                    July 15, 1977

Honorable John C. Mundt
Director, State Board for
Community College Education
319 Seventh Avenue
Olympia, Washington 98504                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGLO 1977 No. 30

Dear Sir:

            By recent letter you have requested the opinion of this office on the following questions:

            "1. May the State Board use funds from the appropriation contained in § 114 of the 1977-79 biennial appropriation act to fund staff positions in minority affairs on the State Board?

            "2. If such funds are usable in that manner, can the staff positions and duties be implemented along the lines of the attached proposal concerning the establishment of minority affairs specialists on the State Board staff?"

            We answer question (1) in the negative and thereby render consideration of question (2) unnecessary.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Section 114 of the 1977-79 biennial appropriation act (chapter 339, Laws of 1977, 1st Ex.Sess.) reads as follows:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] "FOR THE STATE BOARD FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION‑-FOR STUDENT SERVICES PROGRAM

            "General Fund appropriation   $22,836,000

            "Total Appropriation          $22,836,000

            "The appropriation contained in this section shall be subject to the following condition or limitation:

            "$1,000,000 shall be distributed by the state board and expended for the continuation of programs for minority and disadvantaged students."

            In submitting the foregoing questions regarding this appropriation you have acknowledged that the first of them has already been considered, and answered in the negative, in a memorandum opinion written to you by Senior Assistant Attorney General Richard M. Montecucco on June 24, 1977.  Thus, apparently, your present desire is simply for our formal review of that opinion.  In our judgment, Mr. Montecucco's advice to you was correct.

            Article VIII, § 4 (Amendment 11) of our state constitution provides that:

            "No moneys shall ever be paid out of the treasury of this state, or any of its funds, or any of the funds under its management, except in pursuance of an appropriation by law; nor unless such payment be made within one calendar month after the end of the next ensuing fiscal biennium, and every such law making a new appropriation, or continuing or reviving an appropriation, shall distinctly specify the sum appropriated, and the object to which it is to be applied, and it shall not be sufficient for such law to refer to any other law to fix such sum."

            Thus, clearly, funds covered by a given appropriation may only be expended for the purpose or purposes for which it was made.  In the instant case, although a portion ($1,000,000) of the larger, $22,836,000 appropriation contained in § 114, supra, has been earmarked by the legislature for ". . . the continuation of programs for minority and disadvantaged students"; neither the funds thus segregated nor any portion of the remainder was intended by the legislature to be retained by the state board to cover its own operational expenses.  Instead, the entire appropriation is to be distributed to the various community college districts to fundtheir student services programs ‑ including programs for minority and disadvantaged students at the district level.  Conversely, the  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] operating expenses of the state board itself are to be paid from another appropriation contained in § 111 of the same appropriation act, here set forth for comparative purposes as follows:

            "FOR THE STATE BOARD FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION‑-FOR THE ADMINISTRATION AND GENERAL EXPENSE PROGRAM

            "General Fund Appropriation  $2,204,000

            "Total Appropriation         $2,204,000"

            Section 114,supra, might also be contrasted with the appropriation contained in § 8, chapter 131, Laws of 1973, Ex.Sess., which read (in pertinent part) as follows:

            "FOR THE STATE BOARD FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION

            General Fund Appropriation   $2,042,714

            "Community College Capital Projects Fund:

For Bond sale expenses             $  44,800

            "For distribution to the Community Colleges in accordance with chapter 28B.50 RCW.  General Fund Appropriation:  PROVIDED, That up to $150,000 shall be used for the design of a viable plan for a comprehensive management information system for the community college system and the development of a cost benefit analysis:  PROVIDED, That none of these moneys shall be expended for the training of personnel:  PROVIDED, That $900,000 of this appropriation shall be administered by the State Board and used exclusively for disadvantaged programs: . . ."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            There, although the general theme of that appropriation was also one of appropriation to the state board for distribution to the community colleges (pursuant to applicable provisions of the community college act), a qualifying proviso indicated that a portion of the total amount was to be retained and administered by the state board itself ‑ exclusively for disadvantaged programs.

            Or, in the alternative, the problem could have been resolved by the passage of appropriation language similar to that which was prepared by your staff with our assistance during  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] the recently completed 1977 legislative session.  The proposed appropriation which was thus drafted read, in material part, as follows:

            ". . .  $1,472,957 shall be expended for the continuation of programs for minority and disadvantaged students and that $235,000 of this amount may be utilizedby the state board to continue the operation of an office of minority affairsat the state office."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            In view of the fact, however, that neither of those two approaches to the problem were, in fact, actually taken by the 1977 legislature we believe that Mr. Montecucco's memorandum opinion, supra, must be confirmed as being correct and your first question, as above set forth, answered in the negative.  That answer, in turn, renders consideration of your second question unnecessary.

Very truly yours,

SLADE GORTON
Attorney General


PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General

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