(Sheridan, Wyo.) — Staff losses were announced across many Wyoming school districts today because of decreases in state funding, including four teaching and three classified positions in Sheridan County School District #1. "We are losing $150,000 because of the budget cuts for FY17," SCSD#1 Superintendent Marty Kobza told Dally in an email today. SCSD#1 will lose $210,000 for FY18, for a total of $360,000 in lost funding. SCSD#1 will also lose $120,000 from an RCA (Regional Cost Adjustment) reduction and $118,000 for ADM (enrollment) loss, for a total FY17 revenue reduction of over $388,000. The FY18 loss will be $448,000. Because of the lack of state funding, Kobza said today, "We have cut four teaching positions and three classified positions. The average salary and benefit cost for our teaching positions is $72,000 and the average for a classified is $30,000." The Wyoming School District Coalition for an External Cost Adjustment today also released a seven-page letter to the Wyoming State Legislature citing the urgent need for time at the June 13-14 Joint Education Committee meeting in Casper, according to Boyd Brown, superintendent of Campbell County School District #1, also a Coalition district. Eleven Coalition districts plus 17 other Wyoming districts, representing approximately 58,000 of Wyoming’s K-12 students, as well as the Wyoming Education Association, Wyoming School Boards Association and Wyoming Association of School Administrators, signed the letter. The letter was also delivered to Governor Matt Mead and Superintendent Jillian Balow. This March, the legislature used the external cost adjustment for the first time to more drastically reduce school district budgets, on top of the losses that districts are already facing from declining enrollment. School districts are the only entity in the State of Wyoming with a legislative funding model already in place, which increases or decreases based on student population and other economic indices. The 1 and 1.4 percent legislative cuts are resulting in the loss of an additional $36 million for districts. In addition to planning for increased class sizes, districts are also making deep cuts to classroom and technology budgets, delaying curriculum adoptions and professional learning for teachers. "In addition ... the funding formula is self-adjusting for times when there is a bust in the state," Kobza said. SCSD#1 will not be allowing vertical step movement or increasing the contribution to health insurance because of the cuts, he added, even though the district is expecting at least a 7% premium increase. Concerned citizens can reach out to local and state legislators. Read more from Kobza here
*Feature photo: Gov. Mead visits Big Horn High School to celebrate its
designation as one of Newsweek's "America's Top 500 High Schools 2015"
earlier this year. / Pitchengine Communities*