The Wyoming School Foundation Program provides a guaranteed level of funding to every Wyoming public school district. This “guarantee” is essentially a block grant and is based on a number of factors–the most important of which is the number of students enrolled in the district in the prior year.
Other components having a significant impact on a district’s guarantee include special education and pupil transportation costs incurred in the prior year and the number, size and location of certain statutorily defined “small schools” operated by the district. Very small school districts meeting certain enrollment criteria may qualify for additional funding.
Once a district’s guarantee is established, that funding level is compared to the district’s available local revenue sources. If a district’s local revenues turn out to be less than its guarantee, the state of Wyoming makes up the difference through a series of entitlement payments distributed to the district throughout the school year.
A few school districts, on the other hand, have access to local revenues in excess of their guarantees. These districts must rebate the excess to the state of Wyoming–a process known as recapture. All recaptured monies flow into a Foundation Program fund and are eventually redistributed to those districts receiving entitlement payments from the state.