Requirement Raises Funding Issues for School District 1

As Wyoming school districts prepare to implement computer science instruction in their classrooms by 2023, Sheridan Media reporter Pat Blair continues her look at how this affects districts in Sheridan County. Here's her story for today.

Pete Kilbride, who's superintendent of Sheridan County School District 1, said he thinks it's great that Wyoming's Legislature has seen the need for computer science in grades k through 12.

But, he said, the requirement that districts implement computer science instruction in those grades by 2023 amounts to an unfunded mandate.

Kilbride said if there is no additional funding from the state for computer science, he would prefer that districts be allowed to offer those courses as an elective.

He said the district – and/or students – also will have to make choices in terms of time, because there are only so many hours in a day. If computer science is, in fact, a requirement, then students and the district may have to choose which current course offerings to give up in order to fit the new courses in.

Kilbride said the district's teachers, who are already working at full load, also may have to give up some courses in order to teach computer science. All of that, he said, means less offerings for the students.

Kilbride said again that he believes computer science is great, and that those courses are needed. But, he said, he sees potential difficulties as the district and students try to fit the new instruction into an already full class day.