© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

Budget Cuts Impact K-12 Accreditation

Tennessee Watson

The Wyoming Department of Education has announced it must change how it accredits school districts — yet another consequence of budget cuts mandated by the state legislature.


The department was contracting with AdvancED, an independent accreditor, to ensure districts were adhering to standards, but that workwill now be handled internally.


According to figures provided by the WDE, the total cut to the accreditation budget for 2017-2018 is $966,967, and an additional $473,544 cut is projected for 2019-2020. The cost of the AdvancEd contract is $767,408. When it ends on June 30, 2018 the WDE will transition to a new system.


Dicky Shanor is the WDE Chief of Staff. He said what started as a cost-saving measure, has opened up conversation with districts about how to make accreditation more effective.


“We took a survey of districts and asks them about AdvancED.” Shanor said the survey inquired about “what their thoughts were and whether they would like to continue with it or whether they would like to look at a peer-to-peer review, or whether they would like to do a state-driven accreditation model.”


The exact procedure will be shaped by a taskforce, and Shanor said the WDE feels confident in the decision to manage accreditation itself.


“We do have support from districts to move in this direction from the feedback we’ve received,” said Shanor. “And then we hope to be able to augment the accreditation process with the recommendations from this taskforce as well.”


The criteria schools must uphold in order to be accredited are set by state statute and the process is also reviewed by the state board of education. Shanor said the move from a third party agency to a state driven model will not diminish accountability.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
Related Content