Green River Star -

Our View: Residents support school tax

 

September 6, 2017



A recent Wyoming Education Association poll revealed 78 percent of voters are willing to pay higher taxes to support education in Wyoming, a finding we could see coming and will undoubtedly ruffle the feathers of conservative legislators and groups fighting the passage of any new taxes.

We support a tax to help fund local school districts. Regardless of it being a sales tax of an increased property tax, supporting education in Sweetwater County should be a priority for all residents. The poll’s results show Wyoming voters support that line of thinking. Thankfully, most Wyoming residents seem to understand the value of a good education and understand what cutting funds to Wyoming’s schools will do.

While speaking to the Green River Star during the last legislative session, Rep. John Freeman, D-Green River, said while minerals have made up a majority of the tax revenue supporting the state in years past, the industries are not in a position to do that now. That leaves only two other options, cutting back to match revenue or find a way to increase revenue.

We’re certain that cutting education funding will impact the future of the state. That’s something Sweetwater County School District No. 1 trustee Neil Kourbelas said last month and we’ve stated as much on this page in the past. Yes, funding isn’t is the sole factor in creating a great school district, but it does go a long way. Better funded school districts are able to attract better teachers and provide more extracurricular activities to inspire students. A well-rounded academic curriculum should not focus solely on the core studies and should introduce students to new experiences.

School administrators remain behind the proverbial eight ball however. Many of the state’s fiscally conservative lawmakers contend Wyoming schools could take cuts to their state funding. Many lawmakers, as Rep. Stan Blake, D-Green River, contends, call to cut funding with little understanding of how the education system works. Many of those same lawmakers have pledged to not raise taxes in any form, some going as far to sign a pledge to not increase taxes prior to the legislative session last January.

And that, is the problem to overcome. Without the level of funding schools have received in the past, Wyoming’s future will be impacted. Students won’t receive the quality education we’ve come to expect from our local school systems and Wyoming’s future economy will only suffer because of it.

 

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