While suspension of Division I athletics at Sheridan and Gillette colleges drew a lion’s share of attention at the Northern Wyoming Community College District trustees’ meeting this week, they aren’t the only cuts being made.
College District President Dr. Walt Tribley said in order to balance the budget for the fiscal year that started this week, expenses at the colleges had to be reduced by $4 million.
In addition to the Division I athletic cuts, rodeo team expenditures have been reduced, and those two reductions together amount to around $2.8 million. In addition, two academic programs – culinary arts and hospitality management – have been eliminated, a reduction of about $300,000.
Also discontinued is Gillette College’s Energy City Voices, a touring college show choir, eliminating $200,000. The district’s campus police department at Sheridan and Gillette colleges will be disbanded, a reduction of about $260,000.
The budget includes elimination of seven open positions for another $260,000, and reduced traveling and the selling of motor pool vehicles is expected to cut another $400,000.
Dr. Tribley said all scholarships awarded to students at the colleges will be honored, and all students impacted by the cuts will keep their scholarships. He said all student athletes at the colleges will be released, and students in the discontinued academic programs will have an opportunity to finsh the program and get their degrees or certificates.
Tribley said all affected full-time employees in the district were offered a severance package, and those that qualify for the early retirement option can take advantage of that.