ROCK SPRINGS — Western Wyoming Community College’s Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on January 21, 2021 at 6 pm via Zoom to consider budget reduction recommendations to address a projected $2.4 million shortfall in its fiscal year 2021-2022 budget. Budget reduction recommendations include the elimination of 15 full-time positions, 13 of which are layoffs of existing employees. The meeting is open for public comment.
On August 17, 2020, Western announced to employees that in order to maintain institutional stability, due to state budget cuts, a 26 percent steady decline in enrollment over the past 10 years, and the impact of COVID-19, the institution must cut its workforce.
In September, Western’s Board of Trustees declared a financial emergency due to its revenue shortfall. Because the majority of the college’s budget is dedicated to salary and benefits, reducing staff positions is necessary to address this shortfall. Western’s Board of Trustees voted at this time to eliminate 9 full-time vacant positions and avoid mid-year layoffs of occupied positions.
“This is a very difficult time for Western. The deep budget cuts and layoffs have lifechanging impacts on our employees and their families. The College and Board of Trustees clearly understand that there are people attached to these decisions, and we take this responsibility very seriously. I ask that we continue to treat each other with kindness and respect during this challenging time,” stated Dr. Kim Dale, President of Western Wyoming Community College.
The College is currently developing its next five-year strategic plan, branded as “Western Reimagined”. Employees will be engaged in a process to reexamine how the college does business to ensure effectiveness and resolve areas of inefficiency, with a continued focus on enrollment management and growth.
Western is already looking toward the future with innovative projects to best meet student needs, such as launching the self-paced, online FastTrack business degree — created at no extra cost, generating over 64 new business students to date. The college is also awaiting approval from the Higher Learning Commission, the official accrediting body, to offer a new bachelor’s degree in Business Management.