TORRINGTON – The Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) Board of Trustees met on Tues., Jan. 26, for a special meeting regarding the passing of a resolution for sustainable funding for the seven community colleges in Wyoming.
Erin Taylor of Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees joined the board to explain to them some of the particulars for the resolution and how it can help impact the seven community colleges in Wyoming.
Taylor began by explaining to the board that in the past 10 years, the Wyoming community colleges have lost $94 million in funding not including the pandemic.
“That’s not insignificant, and of course at Eastern you know the effects that has had at your college,” Taylor said.
Last spring, the community college commission spoke in front of the appropriators to talk about the cuts and the budget moving forward and the sustainable funding issues that the colleges are facing.
According to Taylor, everyone on the committee agreed that the seven community college’s serve all 23 county’s in Wyoming and deserve some type of statewide funding.
“There’s only a couple of options that can be utilized to consider statewide funding revenue sources,” Taylor said. “The first is a sales and use tax and the second is a statewide mill levy.”
After Taylor explained the update of the legislative process to the board and the difficulties the Wyoming community colleges are facing, the board of trustees voted to approve the resolution to be sent to legislators and the governor.
There were nine different proposals the board approved to be sent to the governor and legislators.
The proposals include: reasonable increases to existing tax rates to generate additional revenue necessary for support, incorporate a mechanism where all 23 Wyoming counties provide financial support, change the statute to allow trustees to impose an additional mill levy, increase four-year statutory limit to eight years on the additional five mills colleges may receive, allowing local optional sales taxes to be used for workforce training funding, add an additional one penny sales tax for purpose of supporting Wyoming’s education system, support construction and maintenance to allow colleges to meet needs, establish and provide initial investment into a Wyoming adult student financial aid program, and allow for Wyoming citizens to vote if they want the inclusion of community colleges in the state constitution.
There was some discussion among the board of trustees if they should approve the resolution with all nine proposals. The board ended up approving the resolution to stand in solidarity with the other Wyoming community colleges.
“We want the same message from all seven community colleges going to the legislature,” EWC President Lesley Travers said.