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Reports on Wyoming State Government Activity

Gov. Gordon vetoes charter school bill

Jill Winger sits between two students in a classroom at Prairie View Community School. She wears a bright yellow long-sleeve t-shirt.  She's teaching a podcasting class. The student on the left wears a burgundy t-shirt, while the student on the right wears an olive green hoodie.
David Dudley
/
Wyoming Public Media
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon speaks to visitors to the Wyoming Capitol building after his State of the State Adress.

This story is part of our new Quick Hits series. This series will bring you breaking news and short updates from throughout the state.

On March 7, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon vetoed a bill that would have given charter schools the ability to apply for status as Local Education Agencies (LEA). If it had passed, charter schools would have been able to apply on their own behalf for, receive and administer federal and state grants.

But that would have repealed the Wyoming Charter School Authorizing Board's ability to serve the same function before it "had an opportunity to demonstrate its effectiveness," according to Gordon. "Repealing the designation of the Charter Authorizing Board as the LEA before it has even had a chance to perform arguably weakens crucial accountability and oversight mechanisms for charter schools."

Additionally, Gordon worried the proposed legislation would have incurred high costs while potentially violating the constitution.

The bill—Senate File 61—was sponsored by Sen. Ogden Driskill (R-Devils Tower). Driskill said it would have saved the state tens of millions of dollars, while removing some administrative tasks from the Board's growing list of responsibilities.

"I'm extremely disappointed in the Governor's Office," Driskill told WPR. "There's no way the bill was worthy of a veto."

Driskill added that he intends to bring a slate of bills pertaining to charter schools to future legislative sessions.

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.

David Dudley is an award-winning journalist who has written for The Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor, High Country News, WyoFile, and the Wyoming Truth, among many others. David was a Guggenheim Crime in America Fellow at John Jay College from 2020-2023. During the past 10 years, David has covered city and state government, business, economics and public safety beats for various publications. He lives in Cheyenne with his family.

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