This week Governor Matt Mead is submitting his proposed budget to Wyoming legislators. The budget will include some spending priorities, but will also feature a wide range of budget cuts, some as high as eight percent. K-12 education has been viewed by lawmakers as untouchable due to the fact that the state lost an expensive lawsuit over school funding. But Mead believes some adjustments can be made in the amount of spending that goes into new schools.
“I am interested in slowing down the amount of money we put in and have pigeon holed away for school construction. I think it has just been an extraordinary amount of money over the last many years. And as I look at the state of Wyoming right now I say, are new schools and the building of new schools the number one priority in the state? And my answer is no. “
School districts have received money that has been used for pay hikes and staff increases and the governor has acknowledged that.
“I will tell you that there is legitimate concern especially as you know we have state employees that are looking at four or five years without any raises and that’s not the same case with teachers. And the further that continues the further discrepancy between teachers and public employees.”
However the governor is reluctant to make cuts in areas that could impact what happens in the classroom.