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College set to trim another 6 percent on FY '18 budget

May 16, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Revenues from the state and county and from student tuition all are decreasing at Central Wyoming College according to the school's preliminary budget for fiscal year 2018.

The proposed budget for 2018 includes about $30.67 million - a decrease of almost 6 percent from the year before.

CWC president Brad Tyndall called it the "worst-case scenario" during a meeting of the CWC Board of Trustees this month.

"(This is) pretty much a break-even budget," he said. "This is really conservative. (It) has got to go up. If it doesn't... we go into our reserves."

State, local

A report to the board indicated that the 8 percent budget reduction announced in April 2016 for all state agencies amounted to a $632,000 cut for CWC in each year of the current biennium.

In addition, local funding fell 27 percent in 2016-2017, from more than $916 million to about $668.6 million.

For 2017-2018 local revenues are expected to fall again, to about $611 million.

Willie Noseep, CWC's vice president for administrative services, explained that Fremont County, like the rest of the state, faces an "unsettled climate" due to decreases in mineral valuations and increases in unemployment related to the energy industry.

"We anticipate that this is the new normal for our local funding and have estimated future years accordingly," he said during his presentation to the board this month.

Projections

Noseep has set projections for local funding in 2018-2019 at about $659 million. After that, Noseep said, assessed valuations should level off or increase slightly, to almost $671 million for 2019-2020 and almost $693.5 million for 2020-2021.

The optional mill CWC levies also will bring in less revenue. Noseep said income from the optional mill has fallen by $73,000, or 9.3 percent, "because of the change in assessed valuation."

Optional mill money supports college operations and meets one-time needs related to planning and facilities.

Enrollment

Student numbers are down at CWC this year, as they are at most community colleges in the state, Noseep said.

As a result, tuition revenues have fallen as well.

CWC plans to increase the cost of tuition by 6 percent for fiscal year 2018 under the direction of the Wyoming Community College Commission.

Tuition is part of CWC's operating budget, which has decreased by 1.5 percent to about $19 million.

A smaller student body also translates to fewer sales at the CWC book store and food court, as well as less housing revenue. Noseep said decreases in the bookstore and housing auxiliaries will add up to about $80,000.

"Enrollment numbers must be reversed," Noseep said in his report to the board.

Employment

CWC has established new criteria for hiring in an attempt to save money. Now, any new or open position is reviewed to determine whether it is critical to operations.

If the position is deemed necessary, administrators then consider whether the job can be accomplished by someone else already on the payroll.

Based on the established criteria, two new positions have been created at CWC: a director of student success, and an international recruiter.

Tyndall said each new position should "pay for itself" over the coming years.

For the international recruiter, for example, he said administrators have calculated how many international students enroll at CWC in order for the position to have generated an adequate return on investment.

"If it doesn't meet the benchmark, that position goes away," he said.

The CWC board will consider adoption of the preliminary fiscal year 2018 budget Wednesday, with final board approval scheduled for July 19.

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2017-10-18

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