LCCC Board of Trustees formally approves financial emergency

CHEYENNE, WYO. – Based on a recommendation presented to the trustees and pursuant to the board’s policy and administrative procedure, the LCCC Board of Trustees declared a financial emergency as a result of the withdrawal and reduction of state funding by the Wyoming Legislature and the directive of Gov. Mark Gordon.

This action is procedural and allows the college to take action in light of the state’s current budget crisis.

“When Wyoming does well from a revenue perspective, its community colleges benefit. When we struggle, the colleges have to do our part to ensure we live within our means. These reductions will have a substantial impact on our programs, services, and people,” LCCC President Dr. Joe Schaffer said. “But we will respond and do what we can to be part of the solution for Wyoming.”

The LCCC Board of Trustees approved its annual budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. This budget is balanced by the use of one-time funding and significant reductions in operating expenses to provide time for LCCC to make strategic, evidence-based decisions on how it will reduce its budget for the 2022 fiscal year (July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022).

“We need time to do this right,” Schaffer said.

Based on Gov. Gordon’s directives, LCCC will have to cut $2.8 million this year to balance its budget for the next, and there is concern that even this may not be enough. In his memorandum to the trustees, Schaffer noted that substantial reductions in LCCC’s ongoing budget commitments are imminent. 

“Those amounts will get us only to status quo operations, with little or no room for new resources…Therefore, further reductions will be necessary,” he stated within that memo.

In response, the trustees directed Schaffer to identify an additional $700,000 of reductions as a contingency in an effort to be prepared for any additional funding cuts that may occur.

The budget for the current fiscal year no longer includes continued implementation of the new LCCC compensation model. LCCC has also already reduced expenses and will make further budget reductions in areas such as employee travel, campus events, and sponsorships for external organizations. These funds will help backfill immediate cuts in state funding to allow LCCC the time it needs to implement its reductions in the most strategic manner.

As an additional cost-savings measure, LCCC will close its outreach center housed at Warren Air Force Base. A number of WAFB personnel and their families currently use LCCC services and take classes online or at the Cheyenne campus, and this change will keep that opportunity in place for them. Additional benefits to these students, including financial aid and scholarships, will continue to be available.

Additional information about the college and its budget can be found at lccc.wy.edu.