- Associated Press - Sunday, March 13, 2016

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming lawmakers are considering the merger of two school systems on the Wind River Indian Reservation because both schools have declining enrollment and financial problems.

Republican state Sen. Cale Case from Lander said the schools at Arapahoe and St. Stephen’s should be reviewed while the Wyoming Legislature is not in session to see what options are available.

“I am just wondering if we could engage in discussion between the two down the road about having a more unified arrangement between the two schools,” said Case, co-chairman of the Select Committee on Tribal Relations. “I am trying to figure out a way to merge the two or have the two merge.”

The schools are only a few miles apart and financing could be a problem. St. Stephen’s Indian School is federally funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, while Arapahoe’s schools are within Fremont County School District 38 and funded by the state of Wyoming, the Riverton Ranger reported (https://tinyurl.com/hk36orc ).

St. Stephen’s provides kindergarten through 12th grade classes, while Arapahoe is a K-8 district with a charter high school.

According to the Wyoming Department of Education, Arapahoe has an enrollment of about 420 students and St. Stephen’s reported about 220 students.

Wyoming Northern Arapaho tribal liaison Sergio Maldonado said funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs has been delayed for St. Stephen’s, forcing the school to use its reserves.

He said one problem at Arapahoe is the high turnover rate of administrators.

Maldonado said combining the schools could be the best alternative.

___

Information from: The (Riverton, Wyo.) Ranger, https://www.dailyranger.com


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