Gillette College bill passes first House reading

Senate File 83, the bill that clears the way for creation of a separate Gillette College district, passed Wyoming’s House of Representatives on first reading Monday, with two readings to go.

Sheridan County’s Rep. Mark Kinner, who at one time chaired the Northern Wyoming Community College District board of trustees, said he chose to speak neither for nor against the measure but that he’s OK with formation of a separate district.

Kinner expected the second and third readings of the bill to happen Tuesday and Wednesday. One of his earlier concerns about the measure was a lack of protection for Sheridan College in the bill that came originally from the Senate. Kinner said the original bill would have taken quite a bit of funding away from Sheridan College.

But, he said, an amendment added by a House standing committee provides the protection he felt Sheridan College needs.

If the bill passes the House and is signed into law by the governor, Kinner said the next step will be for Campbell County commissioners to set an election. At that time, voters in Campbell County will be asked to decide whether they want a separate Gillette College district with a tax levy of up to 4 mills to help fund the college. Voters will also be asked at that time to elect a seven-member board of trustees to manage the college.

If voters approve a separate Gillette College, the college must then seek accreditation. Until the college is accredited, it appears likely that Gillette College students will continue to receive their degrees from the Northern Wyoming Community College District as they do at present.



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