As Wyoming policymakers prepare for the 2018 Budget Session, in which education will be a big topic, teachers are stepping up efforts to make their voices heard.
On Thursday evening, teachers and community members gathered in the backroom of a Laramie restaurant for a postcard writing party.
Teachers Paige Gustafson and Mariah Learned organized the event. Gustafson said it’s hard to get to legislative meetings because they usually happen when she’s teaching. So for the last year, she and Learned have been organizing parties like this one.
Gustafson wants to make sure lawmakers know that teachers do care.
“I feel like last year we weren’t content in just waiting to see what came at us, and we needed to find something proactive that we could do to offset that anxiety about seeing how those bills come forward that were very scary,” said Gustafson, “and letting legislators know that people are definitely listening.”
Learned added she’d like to see policymakers find alternate revenue sources that insulate school funding from the boom-and-bust cycle of the energy industry.
“Just continuing to only talk about cut, cut, cut, cut we are losing great teachers,” said Learned. “Because it’s scary when you don’t have a continuing contract to buy a home somewhere, and it’s a risk for people to stay.”
Postcard party participants are invited to send whatever message they want. Learned and Gustafson want to see legislators act on tax recommendations from the revenue committee during the upcoming budget session in February.