After a lengthy discussion, the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee voted to support a two-percent external cost adjustment for public schools.
The external cost adjustment would address inflation issues within the school funding model, and is used by most districts to pay for salary increases. Lawmakers have been reluctant to support an ECA over the last several years due to budget concerns, and the appropriations committee was told that spending for education in Wyoming remains among the top 10 in the country.
But many districts have said they’re losing their buying power. Johnson County School Superintendent Rod Kessler says rising costs in his district have made it difficult to hire people.
“Come to Buffalo and look for a house. I think it tells you the story,” Kessler says. “I’ve had administrative candidates, principals, who we pay very well, could not find adequate housing in Johnson County that they could afford. So they turned down the job.”
The committee voted to support a two-percent external cost adjustment for the next fiscal year only, ignoring a Joint Education proposal to raise the ECA over the next two years.