Cuts to schools could hit hard

Glenrock High School

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Sandra Mudd (
“I can’t stress enough that we have a real crisis on our hands.” - Gov. Matt Mead
Gov. Matt Mead’s 2017-18 supplemental budget details education funding as the most critical item needing immediate attention for the legislative session that will begin in January. 
In recent statements, Mead pointed out that the shortfall in the School Foundation Program Account over the next six years is estimated to be $1.5 billion, so he made it clear he wants to work with educators early and urged legislators to act now to find a solution. 
“It’s at a point that even if today, oil is back over $100 and we’re shipping ... tons of coal out of this state per year, it’s not going to be in time to address this problem,” he said. 
Due to years of generous spending and the declining energy sector that supports the schools foundation, some school districts could face cuts of $10 million to $15 million, according to Mead. 
“I can’t stress enough that we have a real crisis on our hands,” he said, emphasizing that budget cuts are not a viable long-term solution and that, going forward, the state will need to find new sources of revenue to continue funding education at the same level. 
The Glenrock school district, like all other districts in Wyoming, cannot generate much of its own revenue. It all comes through the state. That leaves the district having to cut costs.
The district has already pro-actively begun making adjustments, Glenrock School District Superintendent Kirk Hughes said. In the 2015-16 school year, the bus route  ran seven buses. It is now consolidated into five. With Glenrock moving from 3A into 2A classification for sports, a lot of 2A schools play their girls and boys basketball teams on the same day, in the same location, he explained, and so Glenrock girls and boys players now also ride the same bus, which also helps to cut down transportation costs. 
“These are two examples of where we have already made cuts and we are fully anticipating there will be (more) cuts, we just don’t know to what extent and how much,” Hughes said. 
The cuts will impact all areas of education spending with staffing as the biggest  because personnel costs make up 80 percent of the budget, he said. The remaining 20 percent goes toward line items such as supplies, utilities, clubs and athletics. As a result, the cuts could potentially increase class size and program reduction, but it’s all subject to  how deep the budget cuts go. 
“We haven’t identified anything in particular yet,” as to what programs could be affected by the projected funding shortage. “It’s too early to say,” Hughes said. “We won’t know a lot until the legislature concludes in March.” 
Facing the claim that some Wyoming school districts could potentially be looking at consolidation, Hughes believes that is just speculation at this point. “Maybe something like that (might happen) years and years down the road, but the thing is we will have to see what happens once the legislative session closes, see how much of a loss of funding we are going to receive and then  just go accordingly,” he said.


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

The Glenrock Independent is located in the Bronco Building

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