Western Cuts 15 Positions Amid Budget Crisis

Western Cuts 15 Positions Amid Budget Crisis

ROCK SPRINGS — The Western Wyoming Community College Board of Trustees approved the cutting of 15 full-time positions, including 13 occupied positions and two vacant positions. Three of these positions were in the math department.

During a special meeting tonight, Western’s trustees voted to approve the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget reduction recommendations, which included the elimination of 15 full-time positions. These positions also includes paraprofessionals and administrative professionals as well. Those who are laid off will receive three months salary and up to six months of health insurance. They will also finish the remainder of their current contracts unless otherwise specified.

However, the vote was not unanimous. Trustee Carla Hester Croff voted against the motion stating the institution’s main purpose is to educate and that’s where the focus should be.

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“We serve the communities and our region and need to include key stakeholders from our communities,” Hester Croff said. “We need to be transparent with our community and and we only thrive and survive due to our community.”

Hester Croff said she doesn’t believe alternative action such as promoting dual degree programs, outsourcing services, downsizing the adjunct pool or reducing text book cost has taken place. She said the district has decreased its administration.

Chairman Regina Clark said they will continue to be open and transparent with the community and that’s why they have put all of the documents on how they reached their decision on the website for the community’s review. Clark said they knew when they hired President Dr. Kim Dale that Western was headed for some budget problems and they were going to be facing some tough decisions.

Prior to voting on the motion, Western’s Vice President for Administrative Services Burt Reynolds informed the board that after reviewing the budget and making these proposed cuts, Western is still going to be around $200,000 in deficit.

He said the previous numbers he had showed Western would have a budget shortfall of $2.4 million for fiscal year 2021-2022, however after receiving new information this week, that number is closer to around $2 million, which is why Western will have around a $200,000 deficit remaining instead of the projected $500,000 deficit.

This is the graph Burt Reynolds showed the board. It shows they will still have around a $200,000 deficit after making tonight’s proposed cuts.

Due to this information, Dr. Dale said she is still making the recommendation to move forward with the cuts, but “with a heavy heart.” She is hopeful the community can come together and turn the economy around so they will not have to be in this position again.

Last week, the board hosted a special meeting informing the community of the proposed cuts and to allow for public comment on the proposed cuts. Tonight, public comment wasn’t allowed during the meeting, however residents had until noon today to submit their comments to the board.

The President’s Cabinet recommended eliminating or laying off the following full-time positions.

Position and Benefit Reductions for Fiscal Year 2021-22

• Director of Workforce Development – occupied*
• Director of Admissions and Recruiting – occupied*
• Director of Green River Center and Community Education – occupied*
• Assistant Professor of Dance – occupied
• Instructor of Mathematics, date of hire 8/16/2018 – occupied
• Instructor of Mathematics, date of hire 8/16/2018 – occupied
• Instructor of Mathematics, date of hire 8/16/2018 – occupied
• Instructor of English, date of hire 8/16/2018 – occupied
• Instructor of Sociology – occupied
• Professor of Anthropology/Geology – occupied
• Associate Professor of Theatre – occupied
• Assistant Professor of Communications, date of hire 8/16/2018 – occupied
• Business Information Systems Lab Assistant, full-time – occupied
• College and Career Readiness Office Assistant – vacancy created by early retirement
• Custodian – vacancy created by early retirement

*The President’s Cabinet is recommending that the individuals occupying the positions identified with
an asterisk be placed on a leave of absence and released from their job duties, effective February 8.

This isn’t the first time Western has had to cut the budget. Back in September of 2020, the board reduced its budget by $875,000 by eliminating vacant positions, and reducing how much the college pays its employees in stipends and retirement contributions. This effort was made to try and reduce the need for layoffs.

Review the document below to see the Western’s entire Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget reduction recommendations.