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Recalibration Committee Opts For More Of The Same

Tennessee Watson

Despite 10 months of work, a legislative committee has rejected changes to the school funding model. After examination, APA Consulting produced a similar price tag for funding K-12 education as what the state was spending before the last round of cuts.


In its last meeting before the legislative session, the Select Committee on School Finance Recalibration refused to adopt the new model suggested by APA.


Committee Co-chairman Albert Sommers said, despite the vote, some of the points brought up by consultants will be part of any debate regarding education funding cuts during the upcoming budget session.


“My point is that education is the most important thing that we do in the state of Wyoming for our people, and I think we should fund it adequately and equitably. And APA proved that we are,” said Sommers. “So I would probably resist many efforts to lower funding for education, at least substantially.”


APA also drew lawmakers’ attention to school funding issues, like support for at-risk students and English Language Learners, and a new calculation that will make funding for Wyoming’s smallest schools more predictable. Sommers said he hopes those concerns continue to be a part of the conversation, but whether they will be addressed in the 2018 budget session or carry over to the next interim is yet to be seen.


“We can get by this biennium but as we go forward into the next biennium we’re going to have to continue to have some of these same conversations,” said Sommers.

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.
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