CHEYENNE – Governor Matt Mead will use the State’s emergency fund to pay the tuition of students living in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming. Mammoth Hot Springs is inside Yellowstone National Park. Those students go to school in Gardiner, Montana.
These students are Wyoming residents, but Mammoth Hot Springs is not part of a Wyoming school district. For the past several years, the National Park Service has paid Gardiner to educate these students. The United States Solicitor General notified the Park Service that the Park Service cannot pay for these students. In February, the Park Service then notified Gardiner, Montana and Wyoming. The Wyoming Attorney General and the Park County Attorney have worked closely together and have concluded all Wyoming children have a right to an education paid for by Wyoming.
“I have authorized tuition for the Mammoth Hot Springs students for the 2013-14 school year,” Governor Mead said. “All Wyoming children are entitled to a public school education. I encourage the school districts in Park County to expand their boundaries to cover these children. This is the long-term solution for Mammoth Hot Springs students.”
The State of Wyoming will pay $497,722 to the school district in Gardiner, Montana. This is a slightly lower per-student amount than the school districts in Cody and Powell receive through the Wyoming funding model.
Park County School District #6 in Cody and Park County School District #1 in Powell border the part of Yellowstone National Park that is not in a Wyoming school district. Southern Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park are part of Teton County School District #1 and students in these areas receive funding from the state.
Governor Mead noted the extensive research done by Office of Attorney General. “Our first obligation is to serve Wyoming’s school-age children,” Governor Mead said. “A second priority is to assure that the federal government fulfills any commitments it may have. The Attorney General’s research affirms the State of Wyoming has the responsibility to educate these students.”