CHEYENNE – Nine school district leaders and the Wyoming Education Association met with Governor Matt Mead yesterday to discuss grave concerns about additional funding cuts to local schools.
Without notice to districts, the Joint Education Committee (JEC) asked the Legislative Services Office to draft bills that increase class sizes and eliminate the current legislative funding model. This model is designed to provide the “basket of goods” (nine content areas) that schools are legally required to deliver to every student across the state.
Even though the legislature reaffirmed its current funding model one year ago, the JEC proposed changes that could result in the loss of $100 million in funding for schools – the equivalent of approximately one in every six classroom teachers.
Our focus on STEM, career and college readiness is paying measurable dividends for our students. The JEC’s proposed funding cuts could stop us in our tracks – I don’t think anybody wants to see student achievement decline.”
– Marty Kobza, Sheridan County School District #1 Superintendent
The JEC’s proposed cuts are in addition to significantly reduced local funding over the past several years when Wyoming’s schools were not provided legally required inflation adjustments. In 2016, the legislature cut local school funding again by enacting the “penny plan” causing the loss of an additional $36 million over the biennium.
Due to declining enrollment, many districts will also begin losing significant additional funds in 2018. For many years K-12 district leaders have been trying to work collaboratively with Governor Mead and the legislature to find solutions and minimize impacts on Wyoming children.
Despite our best efforts to remain in close contact with our legislators, we were not informed about these newly proposed cuts. We met with Governor Mead today to ask for his counsel and support. We explained how these proposed cuts affect much more than just class size and have the potential to harm every school-aged child in Wyoming. Special needs, Advanced Placement, core and career tech classrooms are all going to suffer. We hope the legislature instead chooses to take a more deliberative, student-focused approach.”
– Boyd Brown, Campbell County School District #1 Superintendent
“Adjusting educational funding outside of recalibration is dangerous. Wyoming’s legislative funding model is complex, and the proposed cuts don’t consider the disparate and extreme local impacts they will have on students in classrooms across our state. I encourage our legislators to ask for input from local leaders in education.”
Ken Decaria, government relations director for the WEA, Janine Bay-Teske, Teton County School District #1 trustee, and superintendents Boyd Brown (Campbell County School District #1), Gerry Chase (Johnson County School District#1), Teresa Chaulk (Lincoln County School District #1), Marty Kobza (Sheridan County School District #1), Donna Little-Kaumo (Sweetwater County School District #2) John Lyttle (Laramie County School District #1), Kelly McGovern (Sweetwater County School District #1), and Jubal Yennie (Albany County School District #1), attended the meeting with Governor Mead.The JEC directed the LSO to make the draft bills available on December 12 and plans to vote on them, by conference
The JEC directed the LSO to make the draft bills available on December 12 and plans to vote on them, by conference
call, on December 19.