SCSD No. 2  Board Discussed Concerns over Children Walking to School 

SCSD No. 2  Board Discussed Concerns over Children Walking to School 

GREEN RIVER — The Sweetwater County School District (SCSD) No. 2 Board discussed concerns about the safety of students who walk to school, especially in winter for kids who must walk to school alone.

In particular, one stretch of the sidewalk leading toward Harrison Elementary School drew comment. Board Chairman Steve Core expressed concern that sexual predators may focus upon a part of the sidewalk that is unlighted during darker times of the school year.

He asked about the “walking school bus” option. Under such an arrangement, an adult would accompany students walking to school.

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District Transportation Manager Rachel Todd responded that right now, there isn’t the manpower to provide such an option.

“Let’s keep an eye on this,” Core suggested. “I’m concerned about first, second, and third graders walking (that stretch).”

Following the meeting, Barringer explained that the state does not provide funding for bus routes for students who live within a mile of the school they attend. Inside of that radius, students must walk or provide their own transportation.

“If we were to provide a walking school bus, we would have to hire someone to walk with the students,” Barringer said.

Overtaxing Concerns

Core also expressed concern about the incorrect perception in some quarters that the district has “overtaxed” the district. Such perceptions were based upon a misunderstanding of how district funding works, Core said.

In response to a request for clarification, Core emailed his explanation:

“The School District is required to levy 25 district-wide mills and 6 county-wide mills to fund the local district. The 25 mills goes to the GR District. The County mill is split based on enrollment with Rock Springs and Bairoil. Green River gets about 32 percent, Rock Springs 67 percent, and Bairoil 1 percent. Green River received in Fiscal Year 22-23 $41.3 million dollars.”

“The State guarantees us $37.3 million dollars. Because we collected over that amount, we became a recapture district, for the first time ever I might add,” Core said. “So, we are required to send the excess dollars back to the state, which is distributed to the districts that are not recapture districts. We also have to send back to the state $6.68 million special ed dollars because of a technical correction.

“I was just wanting people to know that we did not overtax them, we taxed them by state law/rules,” Core said. “I wish we could levy just the mills we need to operate the district, but we cannot.”

Core later said. “I mentioned that I wish we could levy mills that would [only] cover our cost—one problem with that is that the rich counties would be getting more money for their kids, while the poor counties would be getting less per kid, which goes against the supreme court ruling that states all kids in Wyoming will be treated equally.”

Superintendent Craig Barringer added that the extra tax dollars were a result of an improving local economy.

“We’re allowed $37.3 million maximum tax,” the superintendent said. “If the district brings in more than that the extra gets returned to the state. The extra tax dollars are a credit to our local industry and economy expanding and creating jobs.”

The superintendent agreed with Core that being a “recapture district” was a new phenomenon for Green River, and that normally it was more something that would happen in Gillette or Jackson.