Senate committee recommends ‘Do Pass’ on Gillette College bill

In spite of concerns, Wyoming’s Senate Education Committee voted Wednesday to send a bill authorizing creation of Gillette College to the floor of the full Senate with a “Do Pass” recommendation.

But committee members called for senators Bo Biteman and Jeff Wasserburger to work out a compromise amendment to the bill in the meantime. Biteman is a member of the committee, and Wasserburger is sponsor of the bill, Senate File 83.

And Senator Affie Ellis, a member of the education committee, disagreed with the assessment of Dr. Walt Tribley, president of the Northern Wyoming Community College District, that the separation of Gillette College from the Northern Wyoming district was “the birth of a new college.”

Charles Scott, chairman of the committee, said a compromise was needed to resolve issues of Sheridan College, including a request by Dr. Tribley earlier this week that the state allocate $3 million a year to Sheridan College if a separate Gillette College district is established.

Dr. Tribley said that’s how much the Northern Wyoming Community College District would lose if a separate Gillette College district is formed.

Senator Scott said he wants to see those issues resolved before Senate File 83 goes to the Senate floor. Other members of the committee, while wanting to see a compromise amendment added to the bill, wanted to move the bill forward Wednesday.

Earlier in the committee meeting, Scott said the bill could move to the Senate floor as early as this coming Monday.

If the bill passes the Legislature and is signed into law by Governor Gordon, the next step for formation of the new college district would be a vote of Campbell County residents. They would be asked to approve formation of the district and assessment of a tax of up to 4 mills to finance the district. Campbell County currently doesn’t assess a mill levy for the college.

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