By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
All programs at Northwest College in Powell will be up for review as the college tries to cut spending in the face of declining revenue, its president said Friday.
Stephanie Hicswa responded in a prepared statement to an announcement that Sheridan College and Gillette College would eliminate their athletic programs, except for rodeo, to reduce spending by $2.8 million.
Hicswa said she was sure the decision was not an easy one.
“The recent decision … was no doubt difficult and painful for all involved,” she said. “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 noted the state is facing a $1.5 billion drop in revenues over the next two years and that community colleges have been asked, along with every other state entity, to look at ways to cut spending.
She did not rule out cuts to the college’s athletic program, but said every area of the college will have to be reviewed for possible cuts.
“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,” she said.
Hicswa said the college plans to ask its trustees, who meet July 6, to let it use some of its carryover funds from this fiscal year to maintain programs at current levels for the next year.
“This will give us the time we need to be thoughtful and strategic in our budget cuts next year,” she said.
Without new revenue sources, however, the college will have to reduce its services, she added.
“We ask the communities we serve to begin embracing the idea that without new revenue streams, NWC will simply not continue to be funded at the same level as in the past,” she said. “Difficult budget decisions are on the horizon and we ask for your patience and compassion as we work through these difficult decisions together.”