Posted at 11:14 p.m., Feb. 4, 2015

Funding model bill runs into roadblock

Laramie County Community College’s president said during the Feb. 4 Board of Trustees meeting said House Bill 118 regarding the community college funding  model changes flew through the House Education Committee but then it turned on a dime.

After the bill then passed the House Appropriation Committee, Dr. Joe Schaffer said an amendment on the House floor changed the measure altogether. Rep. Bob Nicholas, R-Laramie, brought forward an amendment that passed on a 29-24 vote on first reading. The amendment essentially requested an additional study be conducted on the funding model. Nicholas also requested a statewide mill levy for community colleges be studied, he said.

In previous years two blue ribbon task forces have already studied the funding model to create stability in the college funding model.

“It can be incredibly frustrating when we have to look internally at what we cut so we can invest in what we need,” Schaffer said.

Schaffer said the seven community colleges had not asked for supplemental budget this year but had opted for the Legislature to work on a new funding model. Schaffer said he hoped lawmakers can return to the original core purpose of HB 118.

Guns in schools measure moves to Senate

Bill 114 has passed the House, and if it passes Senate, it will allow individuals to carry concealed weapons on school property and campuses.

Trustee Don Erickson said the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees had unanimously voted not to support the bill.
Erickson said there were two main concerns. The first was the lack of ability to identify individuals with concealed weapons permits, who must show proficiency in order to obtain that permit. The second concern was lack of local control by school and college boards of trustees.

The board plans to communicate to the Senate its disapproval of the bill, and LCCC Board Chairman Ed Mosher encouraged the trustees to contact their representatives and voice their concerns as well.

Erickson said they recognize the second amendment, “but there are times constraints are necessary.” If the legislation constrains weapons in a courtroom, Erickson said schools should be a good example of when to show constraint as well.

An additional concern mentioned by Trustee Brenda Lyttle was insurance companies could increase schools’ premiums if guns were allowed on campuses and school property.

However, Schaffer said he had spoken with LCCC’s insurance companies, and they did not think the passage of this bill would have an impact on premiums.

“But it only takes one or two situations to drive up that premium,” Schaffer said.

When asked for the Student Government Association’s opinion on the bill, student ex officio member Keenan Carroll said that “SGA has not discussed the issue.”

No matching endowment funds this year

Finally, President Schaffer expressed disappointment that the Legislature had not approved a measure to reinstitute the endowment matching fund program. The colleges had requested $25 million so that their foundations could raise private donations to be matched dollar for dollar with state money. Instead the Joint Appropriations Committee earmarked $20 million for fiscal year 2017. Schaffer said some confusion exists about whether this endowment money could be used only for donations directed toward STEM (Science, Technical, Engineering, Mathematics) activities.

LCCC Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees
Feb. 4, 2015 Agenda

2015 General Session
63rd Legislature
House Bills/Senate Files Index