The Select Committee on School Finance Recalibration—charged with looking for ways to reduce spending in the face of funding shortfalls—announced they will be working with APA Consulting to assess the current school funding model.
Sublette County Representative Albert Sommers, co-chairs the committee. He said the state hired the Denver-based firm to review what Wyoming provides k-12 students, and how those costs compare to other states. The firm will also propose an alternative model. Sommers said when looking at applicants, he was impressed by APA’s plan to get input from across Wyoming.
“I think it’s important for the citizens of Wyoming to stay engaged in this process,” said Sommers. “As we go forward with this shortfall I think it’s important for people to provide their input; from parents to business people to teachers to superintendents.”
Sommers added that diverse perspectives on how to fund the educational system and what it should provide are critical given the magnitude of the funding shortfall. He said the state is looking at a more than $400 million annual deficit for the foreseeable future. The total cost of APA’s contract is estimated at close to $460,000.
School districts have agreed to organize and offer additional input to APA, according to Brian Farmer, director of the Wyoming School Boards Association. He said he’s confident that the recalibration process, as facilitated by APA, will take input from stakeholders seriously.
The first meeting between policy makers and the consultants is July 25th in Casper. The public is encouraged to attend.