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WWCC announces employee, program cuts

Walla Walla Community College

Walla Walla Community College

Walla Community College President Derek Brandes announced Monday more budget reductions following the $1.1 million in cuts made last fall.

Brandes said he is cutting 17 staff and faculty positions, down from the 24 originally predicted.

Officials are ending the residential construction and carpentry program in mid-June and the office technology program will stop being staffed at the end of March, with students getting additional teaching on a case-by-case basis, said Chad Hickox, vice president of instruction.

These steps will reduce spending by an additional $1.4 million, Brandes said.

The college will also place the commercial truck driving, or CDL, program on hiatus after the current quarter and will no longer staff early childhood education classes on the Clarkston campus.

Those students can continue their coursework on the Walla Walla campus or through distance learning, Brandes said in a release.

State funding for community colleges have combined to create a budget shortfall for the 2019-2020 academic year, he said, adding that in recent years WWCC had addressed its budget deficits by dipping into reserves.

“The reductions we are announcing today come after several months of analyzing our operations,” he said.

The school continues to play a vital role in workforce development in the communities it serves, Brandes said, “and we will continue to evolve to meet the needs of our students, the changing economy and this region.”

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 509-526-8322.

Sheila Hagar has written for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin since 1998. Sheila covers education in the Walla Walla Valley. She also writes a column, Home Place, usually highlighting family life and slices of local life.