Laramie County Community College’s prospectus for a partnership with WyoTech might not be financially feasible for Laramie, Laramie City Councilor Joe Shumway said.
During the council’s work session Tuesday, the council reviewed the prospectus with LCCC President Joe Schaffer and WyoTech Campus Director Caleb Perriton.
WyoTech’s parent company, Education Credit Management Company, announced Nov. 8 that WyoTech would no longer accept new enrollments and planned to close its doors in June.
But on Monday, Schaffer said LCCC proposed an offer allowing the community college to assume ECMC’s mission of providing automotive technician programs in Albany County.
A key sticking point for some councilors was a requirement in the prospectus for Laramie and Albany County to provide a stable biennial revenue stream of about $1.5 million by 2021. The money would be needed for funding operations, because Albany County is not in a community college tax district, Schaffer said.
“The reality is for the communities who are not in community college taxing districts, there is going to have to be some type of investment,” he said. “My expectation is this would be something that the citizens of Albany County would have to say is something they would be willing to support in one way or another.”
In addition to the $1.5 million, Schaffer said the Wyoming Legislature would need to approve a one-time allocation of $8.4 million for short-term operations if LCCC were to absorb WyoTech.
Shumway said the requirement was coming at a time when the city was struggling to maintain essential services.
“For the state to expect us to forego money from our general fund — we don’t have 10 cents let alone $1.5 million to give you,” he said. “It concerns me a great deal that they’re coming to us. We are managing with much less than we were 20 years ago. We are suffering greatly.”
For the partnership to work, Shumway said the Legislature would need to find a funding solution other than relying on the city.
“The state Legislature has not leaned on the city of Laramie to support or give from the city coffers to the growth of the University of Wyoming, which has been steady and very promising,” he said. “Nor have they asked us to support any other education funding model that has come before us.”
Schaffer said he understood the council’s position and would respect any decision they put forth.
“What we wanted to do was provide Laramie with a potential solution for WyoTech,” Schaffer said. “You may say we can’t do it or it doesn’t fit for us, and that’s OK. We just want to be honest about what type of solution we would bring to the table. Now, it really is in your hands and the legislative delegation and (Gov. Matt Mead) and ECMC.”