Inflation

The Legislature’s Joint Education Interim Committee voted 10 to three Thursday to support providing adjustments to school funding based on inflation.

The state is supposed to account for annual fluctuations in the costs of goods and labor when funding schools, but these inflation adjustments haven’t been made for the past four years. A coalition of school districts who spoke before the Committee Thursday say this has cost Wyoming’s school districts more than $150 million—and led to salary freezes, layoffs and program cuts.

Jimmy Emerson, Flickr Commons

This week, 9 school district superintendents met with Governor Mead to contend that the state has underfunded its K-12 schools. While Wyoming ranks near the top of the pack when it comes to per-student funding, this coalition of districts says that funding has not been properly adjusted for inflation each year—and the shortages have meant cutting crucial programs in some districts. But some lawmakers say it’s more complicated than that.

Teton County is the most expensive county in the Wyoming to live in, compared to the statewide average. That’s according to the State Economic Analysis Division.

Amy Bittner is a senior economist with the Economic Analysis Division. The statewide average index number is 100, and Bittner says in Teton County, the index number for consumer goods reached 133 in the fourth quarter of last year.