POWELL (WNE) — While the news was expected for some time, the mood at Monday’s Northwest College Board of Trustees meeting was noticeably gloomy as layoffs were announced.

A total of eight people will be laid off from NWC and another 21 positions will be eliminated through attrition and retirements as part of an effort to produce a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year.

Succumbing to a national trend, the college has been hit by a 20 percent drop in enrollment, as well as decreases in state appropriations and assessed valuations. That resulted in a fiscal year 2020 projected shortfall of nearly $2.4 million.

“Those are the three major pieces to this puzzle, and they’re all in the wrong direction,” said Board President Dustin Spomer.

This follows a fiscal year 2017 shortfall of $2.3 million and a fiscal year 2018 shortfall of $1.2 million. During those years, the college cut programs, in addition to other operational cuts. They also utilized reserves as much as possible. A total of 19 positions were eliminated over those two years, but almost all were from attrition.

At the time, the board hoped revenues would rebound, eliminating the need for any further cuts. While the budget was flat for fiscal year 2019, the projected budget for the coming fiscal year didn’t prove more fruitful.

With so many cuts to operations in response to previous budget shortfalls, there wasn’t any “wiggle room,” as Trustee Nada Larson put it.

A total of 29 positions are to be cut from the budget, but only eight of those will be reductions in force.

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