TORRINGTON – Community colleges in Wyoming will likely find themselves having to tighten their belts more than is comfortable as the state faces a projected $1.25 billion revenue shortfall during the coming biennium, a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, declining oil and gas revenues and more.
Eastern Wyoming College will not escape those cuts as college presidents met virtually with the state Community College Commission in marathon sessions last week, starting shortly after Governor Mark Gordon announced across-the-board state cuts to address the shortfall during a press conference. EWC President Lesley Travers has worked out a tentative plan that calls for a 10% reduction in spending – but budget reductions of as much as one-third aren’t out of the realm of possibility, she told Trustees during their regular meeting Tuesday in Torrington.
“On June 4, Governor Gordon came out and told people to be prepared for 20% to 30% budget cuts,” Travers told the board. “We’ve got a directive from the Community College Commission” to work out plans detailing reductions totaling 10%, 20% and 30% of current spending levels.
Travers presented her tentative plan to cut almost $593,000 – slightly more than a projected 10% reduction of more than $569,000 from EWC’s budget – to the board. But the real price of the projected cuts has yet to be figured.
The plan calls for not filling eight, full-time and four, part-time vacancies, positions that are currently open at the college. That’s on top of a 2% overall reduction in expenses. But the college may need to cut more – to the tune of more than $793,000 total, Travers told trustees.
For the full story, see the Friday edition of the Torrington Telegram.