With Gillette and Sheridan colleges both announcing last week they are cutting their sports programs, Northwest College will also be weighing cuts in the near future.
A July 6 board of trustees meeting will serve as a critical juncture for the school to decide what to trim next year where the school’s 2020/21 fiscal budget will be approved.
“All Wyoming community colleges have been asked by the governor to make cuts and Northwest College is no exception,” Northwest College President Stefani Hicswa said in a statement Friday. “While each college will handle the required cuts differently, know that we will be carefully analyzing and thoughtfully discussing which cuts will make the most sense for us and we will be communicating those decisions as transparently as possible.”
Hicswa said Northwest will look to use carryover funds from the prior year in order to maintain current programs.
“This will give us the time we need to be thoughtful and strategic in our budget cuts next year,” Hicswa said.
On Thursday, the Northern Wyoming Community College District announced both Gillette and Sheridan would disband a combined nine sports programs excluding rodeo, which will operate at a reduced budget. The move will save the schools $2.8 million. Academics and administration will also cut $500,000 at the schools, with the culinary arts and hospitality management programs discontinued.
“Our hearts go out to those employees and athletes, and indeed those communities who love their Generals and Pronghorns as much as we love our Trappers,” Hicswa said.
Northwest regularly plays both schools as all three compete in the Region IX north division.
According to the Casper Star Tribune, athletes and coaches at both schools were not warned or notified before the cuts were made public.
The more than 100 athletes who make up these programs will be able to transfer their athletic scholarships into academics.
Both schools are considered some of the stronger junior colleges in the state, with the Gillette men’s basketball team ranked in the top 25 nationally last season.
The state of Wyoming as a whole is in a revenue crisis, with revenue projected to drop by $1.5 billion over the next two years.
Enrollment at Northwest College has deceased the last few years. Fall semester attendance totals are not available yet, the school reported.
“NWC will simply not continue to be funded at the same level as in the past,” Hicswa said. “Difficult budget decisions are on the horizon.”