Lawmakers, district administrators, and concerned citizens gathered this week for the first meeting of the Legislature's Select Committee on School Finance Recalibration.
Recalibration is the process of evaluating and adjusting the school funding model. They are intended to happen every 5 years as mandated by a 2005 Wyoming Supreme Court decision. The next one was scheduled for 2020, but in response to the $400 million deficit in the education budget, legislators bumped up the schedule.
The committee questioned their past reliance on out-of-state consultants and approved opportunities for stronger involvement from local districts. Lincoln County One Superintendent Teresa Chaulk said districts will help center the conversation on students needs. “Not only what they need but what they deserve. I do believe in Wyoming they deserve a first class education." And she said, "It’s our job to define what that is, how to provide that and then how to fund it, instead of just looking at a cliff and how to avoid that because that’s all I’ve heard so far.”
The committee invited districts to submit a proposal for overhauling the funding model, which Campbell County One Superintendent Boyd Brown said marks a significant change in approach.
"I think the idea of using expertise that’s in the state rather than hiring consultants out of state resonated with a lot of the legislators today."
The committee is also calling for proposals from private consultants. The timeline is still under consideration, but the committee predicted a proposal would be selected by early June.