- Associated Press - Sunday, October 23, 2016

RANCHESTER, Wyo. (AP) - School superintendents from around the state will address the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee about their concern over state funding.

Sheridan County School District 1 Superintendent Marty Kobza says he and his counterparts from other districts in Wyoming plan to attend the committee meeting on Monday in Casper.

The Sheridan Press reports (https://bit.ly/2dDTflJ) that a coalition has been formed by 11 mostly small districts and those affected by the energy bust, along with 17 other districts from across the state.

The coalition has concerns about the amount of funding cuts some districts are facing.

School districts are facing a 1.4 percent reduction in their budgets for the 2017-18 school year. In addition, some districts may lose additional funding because of a drop in enrollment from the energy downturn. A major part of state funding for individual districts is distributed based on student enrollment.

Because of that funding model, school districts that are affected by the energy bust and decreased enrollment could get hit by both the decrease in funding from the enrollment-based funding and the 1.4 percent cut to districts across the state.

School leaders have said they believe that instead of the additional 1.4 percent funding cut, legislators should let the enrollment-based funding system work.

“Really, we are the only state-funded organization that has an automatic piece in there to adjust for bust times,” Kobza said. “If you were (the Wyoming Department of Transportation) or somebody else, you are not going see an automatic reduction because there are fewer people driving on the roads. When we have fewer students, we get our funding cut.”

Wyoming has lost more than 1,000 students throughout the state due to current economic conditions.

The Joint Education Committee has already sent the Appropriations Committee a proposal to reduce the 1.4 percent reduction to a 1 percent cut.


Information from: The Sheridan (Wyo.) Press, https://www.thesheridanpress.com/

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