School Funding Discussion

Dear Superintendents,

Summertime for me has become synonymous with lots of time on the roads of Wyoming–and I love it. Educators are engaged in professional development. Communities hold celebrations. And, our family embarks on a few trips “just for fun.”

There are also lots of meetings—more than usual. This week many of us attended the legislative committee discussion on school funding. Here are a few of my takeaways:

  • Groups that don’t normally attend education meetings were engaged including Wyoming Taxpayers Association, Liberty Group, Business Alliance, County Commissioners, and Municipalities.
  • WDE and the LSO presented information that laid out the finer details of the funding model and how local school districts are adapting to the current mandatory cuts.
  • After the presentation, the committee discussion steadily moved to the same impasse that we saw during the session—to tax or not to tax. All of us know that it’s not quite this simple but no consensus emerged among members, nor was that the intent.
  • School construction entered the conversation. This is essential moving forward and a topic that was not a significant part of the discussion during the legislative session.

The discussion about education funding is still in the beginning stage. There is both a sense of urgency and importance among legislative members. After the meeting, a different group convened to select a funding model consultant. This is a key decision that will steer the conversation going forward.

Superintendent Balow smiles in a picture with Meredith Miller, former North Carolina Governer Perdue, Holly Coy, and Anna Edwards.
Meredith Miller (USDE), Fmr NC Governor Perdue, Holly Coy (VA DOE), and I participated on an ESSA panel about state and local impact of the law. It was sponsored and moderated by Whiteboard Advisors (Anna Edwards, CAO).

Memos to be released on Monday, June 19:

Jillian