Local School District Leaders Urge Against Proposed Funding Cuts

Nine school district leaders, including Sheridan County School District 1 Superintendent Marty Kobza met with Gov. Matt Mead this week to protest additional funding cuts to Wyoming schools.

The Legislature's Joint Education Committee, without notice to school districts, has asked the Legislative Services Office to draft bills that increase class size and eliminate the current funding model. Opponents say the proposed changes could result in the loss of $100 million in school funding, which is the equivalent of approximately one in every six classroom teachers.

Kobza said the proposed cuts could stop School District 1 in its tracks. He said District 1's focus, which is on STEM and career and college readiness, is paying measurable dividends for students, and added he doesn't think anyone wants to see student achievement decline. The cuts are in addition to cuts made earlier and over the past several years, including a loss of $36 million over the biennium that started this year. Many districts also will start losing significant funds in 2018 because of declining enrollment.

Others at the meeting with Mead included representatives of school districts in Sweetwater, Campbell, Teton, Johnson, Lincoln, Laramie and Albany counties. The JEC has directed the LSO to make the draft bills available on Dec. 12 and plans to vote on them by conference call on Dec. 19.