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Difficult Work of Cutting Education Costs Continues

The Wyoming Legislature

The Senate Education Committee is continuing to work on Senate File 165 that proposes a number of reductions to school funding. The measure is one of several being considered as the legislature looks to make up a $400 million shortfall in K-12 funding.

Among the bill’s proposals, it would freeze special education funding and offer early retirement to teachers within five years of retiring. The committee has heard over five and half hours of public input.

Senator Chris Rothfuss said while the committee wants to hear what cuts will be less harmful to districts, that feedback has been lacking.

"I think the most resounding, recurring theme has been don’t make any cuts," said Rothfuss. "Unfortunately, we probably can’t follow through on that and we’re going to have to find some cuts."

Rothfuss said the education community has made it clear that they want the legislature to find ways to raise revenues through taxes and other means. He said the committee hopes to vote on the bill Wednesday.

The bill is the second substantive measure the committee has discussed. It previously set aside Senate File 114 after the committee could not reach on consensus on that legislation.

Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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