Education funding has been one of the primary topics during Wyoming’s current legislative session. Although we provide exponentially higher dollar amounts (on average $16K/pupil) to education than many other states, the additional spending does not translate to either higher test scores or better education outcomes. Simply throwing more money at education is obviously not the answer.
The Education Committee has been discussing a variety of new taxes to impose on Wyoming citizens, including a 4% “flat” income tax, and additional sales and property taxes. Raising taxes does not make sense; Wyoming’s citizens are taxed enough. The idea of an income tax is not only absurd, but implicates the Wyoming Constitution in a way that the proponents have not yet considered.
Instead of raising taxes, the Wyoming Legislature, and all of our school districts, need to cut spending. Here are several ideas to consider:
Differentiate between teacher funding and non-teacher funding in the block grant
Eliminate the funding of salaries and benefits for teachers who do not exist
Eliminate the use of a “rolling average” when counting the number of students in schools, which can result in funding the same student twice
School employee health insurance should be funded the same way that state employees’ plans are funded
Immediately reduce bussing reimbursements by 10% while a new model is developed
Shift more Medicaid funding for eligible students to the federal government
Cap district salaries at $105,000 per year, which is what the governor is paid
Reduce the reporting and the paperwork required by the state and the federal governments
Focus on core subjects and skills to ensure that our students are receiving the best education possible to help them succeed in life