By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Political action is needed for change

 

February 21, 2018



Lately, it seems as though all the Wyoming Legislature wants to do is cut, cut, cut, while sitting on a pile of saved money.

It’s one thing to cut because there’s no other choice, but it’s another thing to cut because “education funding deserves its fair share of cutting too.” Some Wyoming Legislators have actually said things close to the quoted statement above.

Before I continue, I want to make it clear that when I speak of the Wyoming Legislators, I am mostly talking about the ones who are not from Sweetwater County. For almost all of our local legislators not only support educational funding, but they have a good grasp of what’s important for this county and state.

This is why it’s so important to become politically involved regardless of the issue. If there is something you are passionate about and you find out a proposed bill is the complete opposite of your beliefs, than the time to act is now. Don’t wait until the bills are already approved because then it will be to late. The minute the bill you are watching is introduced is the time to contact your local legislators and let them know how you feel about it.


For me, I’m passionate about freedom of speech, protection of the press and school funding.

As a mother of two, I am appalled at the amount of funding that’s being cut to Wyoming’s schools. This has resulted in less teachers with more children in their classrooms, schools closing and teacher’s salaries being frozen for years. This doesn’t even take into account how the additional children in the classrooms are impacting the kids themselves.

Behavior problems county-wide are on the rise, but the legislators are looking the other way and only looking at it from a budgetary issue. However, it’s way bigger than that.

The future of this state and our country depends on the education of our children. Why would we cut that? Over and over again, I hear the same story about people moving back to Wyoming because they want their children to receive the same great education they did growing up.

Education is one of Wyoming’s greatest selling points, and the Legislature is doing all it can to destroy it with these unwarranted funding cuts. The Legislature even hired a consulting firm to try and justify the proposed cuts they were making, however that completely backfired when Augenblick, Palaich and Associates came back with a recommendation that the state should continue funding education the way it has in the past and actually asked them to increase it by about $50 million statewide.


Yet, there were numerous bills created that only looked at the cost-saving recommendations in APA report. Most of the proposed bills created to find ways of generating funding for education have already died. It’s clear to me the Legislature only has one thing on its mind -- cut education funding.

This is exactly why it’s so important to contact your local legislators and share your stories with them about how all of the school-funding cuts are impacting you as a parent, a teacher or your child.

Our legislators can use these personal stories to try and sway the votes of those who are not sure which side to be on. Personal stories really do make the difference. It gives a face to a situation where only money is taken into account. I’d also encourage you to reach out to others across the state and ask them to contact their legislators.

To hammer home my final point. Consider this.

For those working in a school district, all decisions that impact you directly are made by elected officials. This goes for the amount of students in a class, the amount of materials that can be purchased for that class and salaries. If small class sizes are important to you, like they are for me, then contact your local legislators and tell them why.

To contact you local legislators or to review the proposed bills, go to the website http://legisweb.state.wy.us. It’s on this website that you can look at bills, find out who your legislators are and see how they voted on the bills important to you.


 

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