Education funding shortfall: Public meeting in Cody next week

In coming months, Wyoming lawmakers may trim more funding from schools, create new taxes or change what K-12 education looks like for students statewide.

Before then, they want to hear from you.
During four public meetings around Wyoming next week, stakeholders can discuss the impact of the state’s educational program and current funding model. Locally, a meeting will be held from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday in the Cody High School Cafeteria/Band Room.

Superintendent Jay Curtis sent a mass email to parents in Park County School District No. 1 last week, encouraging them to make their voices heard.

“As the time draws near for us to welcome teachers and students back in to the building for another great school year, we are facing a true crossroads in Wyoming education,” Curtis wrote in the Aug. 2 email.

Curtis outlined Wyoming’s education funding shortfall and noted that school districts were cut $71 million over the past two years; districts cut 577 positions — roughly 4 percent of the K-12 workforce.

Due to the downturn in the energy industry, Wyoming faces what’s now estimated to be a roughly $250 million annual shortfall to fund K-12 schools in Wyoming.

Curtis also discussed the Legislature’s decision to go into recalibration — the process for examining and adjusting the state’s funding model — three years earlier than scheduled.

“Several of our local legislators have gone on record as saying that they believe that the recalibration process should result in massive additional cuts to education, and will not consider examining our state’s revenue sources, spending policies, and savings policies until schools have ‘taken their cuts,’” Curtis wrote in the Aug. 2 email. “It is clear that some legislators are using this recalibration process to seek those cuts.”

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