The  Wyoming  Association of Community College Trustees
THE TRUSTEE
Volume 3  ~ June  ~ 2017
2017 WACCT Award Recipients 
Move on to ACCT Nominations

In February, WACCT recognized forty two nominees and six recipients at the annual WACCT Awards event.  Now two of those recipients will be forwarded on to the national awards with ACCT.  Marnee Crawford, NWC, Faculty of the Year and Carolyn Danko, NWC, Trustee Leadership of the Year have been sent along to ACCT.

 Last year EWC's own, John Patrick, was selected as the nominee for the national Trustee Leadership Award from the Western Region.  Congratulations everyone!
Time for Tax Increases?  
Revenue Raising Ideas for K12 Education
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Revenue/K12 Re calibration Committee Meet in Riverton

Members of the Joint Revenue/School Re calibration Committee met in Riverton earlier this month.  It is the first of what will likely be several meetings where policy makers discuss the serious deficit in K12 school funding and potential revenue sources to bridge that gap.
 



General Review of Wyoming K-12 Public Education Funding and Update on Projected Funding Shortfall

Here is the bottom line:

  • The School Foundation Program account (general operations for K12 schools) will experience a shortfall of $478.5M in 2017/2018 and $530.1M in the 2019/2020 biennium.
  • School capital construction will experience a shortfall of $78.3M in 2017/2018 and $195.3M in 2019/2020.  Major maintenance usually costs the state $60M/year.

Senate President Eli Bebout made some brief comments directed to the members of the Revenue Committee - he suggested that Wyoming has a spending problem and that the committee needs to take that into consideration when they look at revenue raising options this interim.  He feels that we need to earn better returns on our investments and diversify our economy before raising taxes.


Summary of Major Revenue Sources in Wyoming and Estimated Impact in Change to Tax Rates or Revenue Streams

The Committee looked at several options for increasing revenues, including:

  • Sales and use taxes
  • Fuel taxes
  • Cigarette taxes
  • Alcohol taxes
  • Property taxes
  • Severance taxes
  • Pari-mutuel events
  • Lottery
  • Gross receipts tax
  • Real estate transfer tax
  • Corporate and personal income tax

Please see the following link for the complete LSO memo outlining each of these revenue raising options:  http://legisweb.state.wy.us/InterimCommittee/2017/SSR-0612APPENDIXL.pdf

 

Revenue Imposition Issues 
Dan Noble, Director of the Department of Revenue was asked to provide his thoughts to the Committee regarding the level of administrative burden for the Revenue Department if the Legislature increase taxes.
  • Sales and Use Tax - a 1% S&U tax increase could be implemented rather simply if the distribution is not changed.  If it is changed, the administrative costs would increase, but it could be done. 
  • Internet Sales Tax Collection - Amazon started collecting Wyoming's use tax.  The first two months yielded much more than what was estimated originally.
  • Statewide lodging tax - not a big administrative burden.
  • Tobacco taxes - would possibly change the color of the tax stamp, but current products (existing inventory) would require a form to capture those products.  It would likely require $2,000 or so in forms.
  • Liquor taxes - no change in administrative burden.  Several legislators mentioned the markup and that the taxes on liquor are not comparable to other states because of it.
  • Property taxes - no real administrative burden.
  • 1% increase in severance tax - if based on existing distribution, then no real administrative burden.  However, if changed, then would require some administration.
  • Real estate transfer tax - DOR could likely handle - as it is similar to the E911 tax.  If there is a distribution associated with it, DOE would imply administer.  E911 was implemented for about $290,000.
  • Gross receipts - very similar to a sales and use tax.  May need specific staffing
  • Income tax - is a very different animal - other states use a commercial software.  Could cost $12M for maintenance and an additional $8M for the software.
  • Broadening the sales tax (taxing services that are not already taxed) - on the face, would not be very different, however, licensing takes the most time.  Once they are up and running, the system takes care of the rest.
  • Wind tax - Senator Case asked about wind tax administration and what the administration burden might be.  Mr. Noble said it is fairly simple - there are only 14 providers who pay the wind tax.
The two committees will send reports to each other in the fall while they respectively work on interim assignments.  So here, you see, the posturing begins.  Some legislators are tipping their hats and letting their constituents know that they are willing to look at some tax increases.  Others are quite out-spoken about spending down the LSRA and not increasing taxes.  More to come as the individual committees meet this interim...but if any tax increases are passed, we could all be impacted.  
Joint Education Committee Discusses Computer Science Readiness

The Joint Education Committee met in Casper last week to discuss the assigned interim topics, including computer science education requirements and post-secondary readiness.

Computer Science Education
The Committee's number three priority for the interim is directed as follows, " The Committee will develop a multi-pronged strategy for increasing the number of opportunities across the state for students to take classes in computer science/computational thinking. This may include an analysis of graduation requirements, accountability indicators, Professional Teaching Standards Board credentialing practices, funding mechanisms, the common core of knowledge and skills, and public/private partnerships."

As such, representatives of the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) told the Committee that computer literacy is not only " just a skill anymore, it is a literacy for the 21st century.

In 2016, Wyoming ranked as one of the lowest of the 50 states in the number of students taking AP computer science exams and the number of educators who are qualified to teach computer science are extremely limited.  WDE told the Committee of their commitment to take Wyoming from the bottom to being a national leader.

  " This work will require Wyoming to engage teachers, school districts, post secondary institutions, state agencies, economic development groups, industry partners, and national partners, along with aligning to efforts such as ENDOW, the Wyoming Workforce Development Council, and the Wyoming Career Readiness Council."

The WDE intends to convene a stakeholder group of experts on this issue to create this strategic plan.
WACCT Thanks Dr. Patterson

On June 13th, WACCT Executive Director, Erin Taylor, visited the Eastern Wyoming College campus in Torrington to honor Dr. Rich Patterson with a plaque from the association.



Dr. Patterson told the board he was " grateful for the many years I have been associated with EWC. Starting as a student, and later an intern, college counselor, adjunct faculty, full-time faculty member, division chair, and finally college president.  

"I appreciate your confidence in me to lead us through some very difficult times and trust that it was not misplaced. It has been an honor for me to serve you and the college."

A Farewell reception for Dr. Patterson will be held at the college on June 29th.

Thank you Dr. Patterson for all of your support for the colleges!
WACCT Mission Statement Gets Face-lift
Mission Motivation Objective Plan Aspiration Concept
At its June 26th meeting, the WACCT Board of Directors adopted a revised mission statement, as per the recommendation of the strategic planning retreat from the fall of 2016.  The new mission better reflects the main goal to advocate for the seven colleges.  Here is the new mission statement...

The mission of the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees is to advocate a unified vision and voice on behalf of the seven Wyoming community college boards of trustees, in collaboration with their college presidents, to promote their mutual interests in continued quality, strength, vitality, leadership development and effectiveness of its member colleges.

Did You Know...
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Computer Science by the numbers...

  • 71% of new STEM jobs will be in computing by only 8% of college graduates are in computer science.
  • 1.1 million unfilled programming jobs by 2022
  • there are currently 500,000 computing related job openings in the US.  These jobs are in every industry, every state, and they are projected to grow at twice the rates of all other jobs.
  • only 8 states have computer science standards.  In 33 states plus DC, computer science can count towards high school graduation math or science requirements - up from 12 states in 2013.
  • 93% of parents say they want their student learning computer science, but most schools do not offer it.
Source:  WDE memo to Co-Chairmen Coe and Northrup and the Joint Education Committee dated June 5, 2017


Thank you to everyone who works to support the Community Colleges in Wyoming! Have a safe and fun 4th of July!  Happy birthday America!
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Erin Taylor
Executive Director
Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees
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Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees

erin@wacct.org
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