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Senate Bill Cutting Education Dies In The House

Tennessee Watson

A senate bill proposing over $40 million in cuts to education over the next several years died in the House Education Committee Friday.


Committee members raised concerns about proposed increases in class sizes, as well as, a change to how the state adjusts funding when districts have declining enrollment. Currently, if districts lose students, their funding decreases based on a three-year rolling average. The proposed legislation wanted decreases to take effect within one year.


Kathy Vetter, president of the Wyoming Education Association, explained to the committee that districts need more time to adjust staffing. Kids leave classrooms and schools across districts in small batches making it hard to cut teachers.


“That immediate cut off really hurts because kids don’t just leave from a grade level,” said Vetter. “That’s why that three-year rolling average really helps, because it isn’t just one grade. So you can’t just randomly pick this grade or this subject to decrease a teacher.”


The House also has a bill proposing reforms to education funding that’s now before the Senate. Ed Goetz, the business manager for Albany County School District #1 in Laramie, said that bill delivers less of a blow.


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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