In an effort to reduce spending in the budget, the State Senate has cut in half the money available to school districts to increase public school teacher salaries. Teachers will get a pay hike in the first year of the biennium, but not the second.
Appropriations Chairman Eli Bebout said that Wyoming teachers are the highest paid in the region. But Laramie Democrat Chris Rothfuss countered by saying Wyoming is losing purchasing power.
"10 percent purchasing power over the last four years, we are trying to erode that further now. So it will be 12 percent effectively, over the next biennium. 12 percent erosion in purchasing power. If you go back and talk to your districts I can assure you that they're not going to be very comfortable with that."
Governor Matt Mead had only recommended a one year pay hike for teachers in his proposed budget.
Bebout said the K-12 funding model will be re-calibrated next year and the pay issue can be addressed at that time.