Matt Teeters

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.

Goshen County representative Matt Teeters lost his legislative seat in Tuesday’s primary election. His challenger, Cheri Steinmetz, says she won because Teeters didn’t recognize how important constitutional rights are to his constituents.

“One of the biggest issues for our country is people want to make sure that their constitutional rights are protected. They see a lot of overreach at the federal level, and some at the state level as well.”

In Tuesday's legislative primaries, four incumbents lost their seats including House Education Chairman Matt Teeters of Goshen County.  

Teeters made headlines in the last budget session when he added a footnote to the budget that blocked the State Board of Education from reviewing the Next Generation Science Standards. He was easily defeated by Cheri Steinmetz who grabbed 59 percent of the vote.  

Cindy Hill Superintendent

A Wyoming legislative committee is in no rush to re-visit the controversy over who should run the State Department of Education.

Joint Education Committee members asked that a bill be drafted to restore all powers to State Superintendent Cindy Hill after the Supreme Court ruled that the legislature erred in taking away her ability to oversee K through 12 education in the state. 

The State Board of Education has decided to hold off on making any decisions about how to move forward with development of science standards. A footnote in the state budget bill that the governor signed earlier this month prohibits the Board from adopting, or even considering, a set of national standards that it had been reviewing for more than a year. Some legislators objected to the standards’ treatment of climate change and evolution.

Right before the close of the session, the Wyoming Legislature slipped a small amendment into the budget bill that’s proving to have some big implications. The footnote prohibits the State Board of Education from considering a set of national science education standards that it had been reviewing for more than a year, and as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, it raises questions about whose role it is to establish those standards.

A bill that many people called the most important education measure this session has died after failing to get the necessary two thirds support for introduction in the Wyoming House of Representatives.

The bill would have empowered the Wyoming Department of Education to coordinate early childhood learning in the state and would have made money available to help enhance pre-school and day care programs in the state.  But state involvement in the program made many nervous, including House Education Committee Chairman Matt Teeters who's committee studied the issue last year.

The Joint Education Committee wrapped up two days of meetings talking about everything from improving Native American education to better uses of technology in the classroom.  

Glenrock Senator Jim Anderson   says lawmakers have had some distractions in recent months with the controversy surrounding Superintendent Cindy Hill, but he says they are moving forward with some good ideas.

“If we are not doing it, at least we are starting to lay some framework and some discussion and open people’s minds to the idea of new options and new alternatives.”

A bill that funds the construction of new schools in the state has received final approval in the Wyoming House of Representatives.  This despite an effort by the House Education Committee Chairman to remove some money from the bill.  Lingle Republican Matt Teeters complained that lawmakers are building some schools too big and have obligated too many schools to be built.

An effort to enhance graduation requirements has failed.  Lingle Republican Matt Teeters, who chairs the House Education Committee, offered a bill that would have added some graduation requirements for those in high school.

“This bill would suggest that we would have four years of math and four years of science added to those requirements.  Just the fact that of having that student enrolled in those extra classes  their senior year, prevents that institutional loss that we see when seniors take their senior year off.”