House Begins Debate On Jackson School Bill

Feb 21, 2019

Credit Bob Beck

A bill that would remove county zoning authority from over private schools has received initial support from the Wyoming House of Representatives.

Senate file 49 is attempting to resolve a dispute between the Jackson Hole Classical Academy and Teton County. School officials say the county has put up too many hurdles making it difficult to build a new campus in its preferred location. Worland Representative Michael Greear said the county is treating a private school unfairly.

"Should be no distinction between a public and private school. And why are we allowing a political subdivision to come in and regulate and control it?" said Greear.

Jackson Representative Andy Schwartz said there are good reasons for Teton County's strong zoning regulations.

Cheyenne Representative Landon Brown said the bill is special legislation that takes away local control.

"That if you have a county disagree with you and you don't like the way it turns out and you've got enough money, you can come down to this capitol and say I want this law changed for me. And I don't agree with that," said Brown.

Sundance Representative Tyler Lindholm countered that legislators are supposed to change laws.

"Who in here has run a bill for a constituent because something wasn't working? We all have, I continually do that. In fact it was made mention that only the rich can come down here and do this. I ran a bill for a retired school teacher this year, he's not rich, he just had a bad time with our current law," said Lindholm.

The bill passed 31-24 and will be debated two more times.