BIG HORN — The Northern Wyoming Community College District Board of Trustees approved an excise tax proposal for Campbell County and announced an 8.6 percent enrollment increase at Sheridan College Wednesday evening.
The economic development tax proposal is one-fourth of 1 percent, and was brought forward as a memorandum of understanding by the district administration. It detailed that all money raised on taxable goods in Campbell County will remain there for use by Gillette College and for economic development.
Gillette College CEO Mark Englert said the projected annual income from the tax is $5.2 million, about 65 percent of which would go to Gillette College. He also said about 20 percent of the tax would be paid for by visitors to the community.
“I always say, ‘Are you willing to invest 25 cents of a $100 dinner to the college?’” Englert said. “That’s a tremendous investment.”
Now that it has the board’s approval, the tax proposal will go to Campbell County voters Nov. 7.
In other business, the 8.6 percent enrollment increase at Sheridan College this fall means there are about 200 additional students compared to last fall.
Sheridan College President Dr. Paul Young said there were several factors that contributed to the enrollment growth.
“First of all, students come to a school for the program, and if you have a good program it’s because you have good faculty” and staff support, Young said. He also mentioned the attraction of the facilities on both campuses.
The NWCCD Faculty Senate reported to the board that it could implement a faculty ranking system by the end of this semester. Faculty department chairs may also create a new proposal for the faculty evaluation process going forward.
KayLee Weeden, president of the Sheridan College student government association, reported that the college is working on a textbook loan program. Weeden did not give a specific timeline, as she said they are still figuring out details.
In addition, the board unanimously approved a few policies, including one on board self-evaluation and evaluation of the district president.
Jack Tarter was unanimously approved to be reappointed to the Johnson County Advisory Board for a three-year term ending June 2020 and Trustee Walt Wragge brought forth a proposal to be the district voter at the Association of Community College Trustees Convention in Las Vegas on Sep. 25. The board approved Wragge’s proposal unanimously.
Trustee Jerry Iekel brought up for discussion the Wyoming college presidents’ letter that asked the Wyoming Legislature to support the DREAM Act or similar legislation. The Dream Act protects undocumented immigrant children who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from deportation.
After several minutes of discussion, the Board could not reach a unanimous decision, and did not vote or take any action.
The board also went into closed, executive session for about 20 minutes to discuss two real estate matters, but did not take any action.