Balow Testifies Before Congress
Wyoming Schools Chief Jillian Balow testified before a U.S. Congressional committee Tuesday in favor of a bill that would end the federal suspension on coal leases.
The Certainty for States and Tribes Act would also reinstate the Interior Department’s Royalty Policy Committee, which proponents say would ensure that states relying on revenue from federal land are treated fairly.
Balow told the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources that the downturn in the energy sector has hurt Wyoming’s ability to fund its schools, because the state relies heavily on coal lease bonus money.
“In 2019-2020, our school construction money will be gone,” said Superintendent Balow. “We have not identified a new revenue source for major maintenance or school construction. Our school foundation account—which funds operations for schools—has been cut by $36 million and as enrollment declines over the next 3 years and more, we’ll those cuts two times.”
Wyoming has spent about $3 billion building and maintaining schools since 2003. That money came primarily from selling coal leases.