Green River Star -

Our View: Work on education disappoints

 


When we send this newspaper off to the printers, the Wyoming Legislature will have seven days left to debate and resolve the state’s biggest issues.

We find that unacceptable.

According to local representatives Stan Blake and John Freeman, the leadership within the house and senate are engaged in political gamesmanship over the outcome of these important issues. This gamesmanship includes the times representatives and senators meet to discuss. Today, the house convened to discuss potential cuts in the state’s budget at 1:30 p.m., while the senate opted to start its budget discussion at 2 p.m. Why are they meeting in the afternoon for those important discussions? They should be started first thing in the morning. 

While the legislative session has disappointed for a number of reasons, the largest comes from how the legislature has handled education. There is a legitimate fear within the school districts about if some employees will have jobs or not and the uncertainty revolving around what the legislature will do doesn’t help calm those fears. Beyond that, with members of the legislature wanting to push constitutional amendments to both limit the ability for school districts to file lawsuits against the state and take more control of how funding will be distributed is alarming at the very least.

The Wyoming Constitution specifically mentions the importance of education and directly states the legislature “shall provide for the establishment and maintenance of a complete and uniform system of public instruction…” The funding system in place, which was implemented with help from the late Green River attorney Ford Bussart, not only answers that call, but is a fluid system that can be recalibrated. By pushing these amendments, legislators are not only telling the state that better educational funding decisions can be made in Cheyenne, but school districts should not have a legal means to object to decisions made by the legislature.

Wyoming residents have a love of small, locally-based government and political maneuvers like this undermine our local school districts’ ability to make the best decisions for the students they educate. In essence, what some legislators are saying is the state is the best level for local school funding decisions to be made.

Education is important to the state and the words in its Constitution reflect that importance. Legislators, in trying to limit funding or reduce a district’s ability to file suit against the legislature, only serve to harm Wyoming’s students.

 

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