School district superintendents across Wyoming are encouraging families to make their voices heard during the school finance recalibration process between now and January.
In a letter sent out by Campbell County School District One Superintendent Boyd Brown, he asked families to consider: “Should today’s student get the same or a lesser education than previous graduates due to energy market fluctuations?”
He also wanted them to think through, what would happen if fewer subject areas were offered, or if class size increased, to save money?
In Campbell County where parents work long shifts in the coal mines, Brown said school is about more than academics.
They are trying, said Brown, “to make sure we have the wellness of students always at the forefront as well. You know we have parents that work shift work, and being able to support kids socially, emotionally to make sure they are ok on that side too. So I believe that if we weren’t doing that we would have a lot more problems.”
In his letter, Brown cited a Wyoming Department of Education survey that said 577 jobs have been eliminated in the k-12 education system and 44 districts reported having to cut educational programs. These reductions because of a downturn in the energy sector have prompted the Legislature to take a look at the school funding model, and Brown’s letter said, “It is crucial that state officials hear your voice. Please attend and share your point of view.”
He put that call out to families in general, but he said students should weigh in as well. “If a student is interested in what their education is going to be,” Brown said, “I think that would be a voice that would be listened to loud and clear by the consultants just in working with them last week.”
Consultants working with the Legislature will be hosting four public meetings from August 14- 17, across Wyoming.