Due to the projected education funding shortfall, the legislature is reassessing Wyoming’s school funding model. This winter, they will make decisions that will impact students and Wyoming’s economy.
From August 14-17, 2017, four public meetings will be held across Wyoming to discuss the impact of the state’s educational basket of goods and the current funding model. Meetings will be split into two panels, both running from 5 – 7 p.m. It is crucial that state officials hear your voice.
The closest session for our community is in Buffalo. Please attend and share your point of view.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 16
5 - 7 P.M.
BUFFALO HIGH SCHOOL
29891 OLD HWY 87
As many of you know, over the last six years, school budgets have been cut by approximately $171 million, $71 million of which has been lost in the last two years alone. According to a survey conducted in May by the Wyoming Department of Education, districts reported a loss of at least 577 jobs over the last two years, and 44 out of 46 reporting school districts have had to cut educational programs. Further budget cuts will result in additional job and classroom programming losses.
It is estimated that 85 percent of the approximately $1.2 billion K-12 Wyoming block grant funding recirculates through our local communities about twice annually. The positive and essential economic impact of our school system cannot be denied.
To prepare for the input session, please consider what’s on the line for Wyoming’s students:
Basket of goods: Wyoming’s current “basket of goods” includes reading/language arts, social studies, math, science, fine arts/performing arts, physical education, health and safety, humanities, career/vocational education, foreign cultures and languages, applied technology, and government and civics. Should Wyoming preserve the quality of its currently required educational standards and programs for all students? Should today’s student get the same or a lesser education than previous graduates due to energy market fluctuations?
Activities and athletics: In the 2017-18 school year, approximately 50 percent of Wyoming’s districts reported cutting athletics and/or activities. Should we protect activities and athletics? Do extracurricular activities impact student success in school and in life?
Class sizes and proper school facilities: Legislatively imposed budget cuts are forcing increased class sizes, and diminished energy income is delaying the building of essential school facilities. Should Wyoming’s class sizes be based on the fluctuations of energy markets? Equally as important, should students in growing districts be taught in temporary trailers or have to change schools within their own district several times mainly due to the lack of coal lease bonuses?
Jobs and economic stability: Even though the school funding model was designed to protect students from the changing nature of the economy, recent budget cuts mean schools and students are now very much impacted by fluctuations in the energy marketplace. Should the legislature cut budgets further, resulting in more school programming and job losses, or take an approach that includes revenue generation?
Wyoming’s school leaders have been working with elected and state officials for several years, advocating for children, jobs and the future of Wyoming’ economy.
We’re reaching out today to ask you to get more involved. Please talk to your legislators (find your legislator’s contact information here) and attend public input sessions. You may also want to consider joining the Wyoming PTA to multiply the impact of your voice. To learn more, please contact Sheila McGuire at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-677-0122.
Your voice is important, and your legislators need to hear from you as they head into one of the most important budget sessions in Wyoming’s history.