College to cut expenses, lay off staff in response to drop in funding

The Northern Wyoming Community College District (NWCCD) Board of Trustees held their annual budget work session Thursday night, prior to their regular monthly meeting. President Paul Young presented the board with the administration's proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. NWCCD, operating Sheridan College, Gillette College and an outreach center in Buffalo, is faced with a decrease in operating funds totaling $1.8 million for the 2017-18 biennieum. These cuts come on the heels of a $1.5 million decrease in annual Sheridan County tax contributions which have dropped by 44% since 2010. “We've managed to absorb the year-after-year reductions in local revenue we've been seeing for the past six years, but with this loss of State revenue added on top of that we've come to the point where we need to look at reductions in staffing,” said Dr. Paul Young, NWCCD President. College administrators laid out a budget plan that includes cutting expenses, eliminating administrative positions and utilizing reserves in order to balance the budget. A total of five administrative positions will be eliminated, four in Sheridan and one in Gillette. Other cost saving measures include reducing travel, reducing operating costs by 5%, leaving four open administrative positions unfilled, and utilizing approximately $500,000 in reserves. “We have agonized over the difficult decisions necessary to balance our budget,” said Dr. Paul Young, NWCCD President. “Unfortunately our biggest expense is our people, with almost 80% of our operating budget devoted to salaries and benefits. Like many other agencies throughout the State, we had to find creative ways to meet the current challenge and remain focused on student success.” "The thing that is saving us is that we are still seeing near-record levels of student enrollment. Our campuses are in great shape with new and renovated facilities and as long as we can continue to attract and retain students, we'll get through these difficult times. That really is the key thing for us -- absorbing these cut backs with minimal impact on students." *h/t NWCCD* #county17 #news