Public school funding cut

 


The biggest issue with education during this legislative session has been state funding, according to Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD#2) superintendent Jim Copeland.

The passed amendment will lead to a 1 percent cut this year with a 1.4 percent cut the following year, though superintendents and administrators suggested that legislators hold off until they see what enrollment will do.

According to Copeland, the funding distribution changes with enrollment, and with the unsure energy climate right now, enrollment has already decreased 1 percent which could have leveled the financial issues faced. For somewhere like CCSD#2, enrollment has basically been stagnant, so things are expected to be okay overall considering enrollment changes. Copeland said that financial planning for upcoming years will involve some belt-tightening, but overall CCSD#2 should be pretty stable. However, while the district is estimating education projections, they cannot know until the upcoming year. This year’s funding will be based on last year’s.


The legislature had proposed a transportation reimbursement cut from 100 percent to 86 percent, which was not passed.

An assessment bill has been proposed that will change the state assessment, which requires a college entrance exam which could be either the ACT or the SAT, or a college readiness test that has yet to be developed for students that may be going to a trade school. The ACT Aspire test, a prep for the college entrance exam formatted similarly to the ACT, will be taken away in favor of more Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students (PAWS) testing.

While Copeland believes that there needs to be an annual assessment, he wonders where the motivation will be for students if it is not directly related to college like the ACT Aspire was. Schools are then judged on those test results in large part. “I liked the ACT. I thought it was required, I thought kids saw the value in it—especially those who want to go to college,” Copeland said. Further, no assessment can take more than 1 percent of classroom time.

The new federal law concerning testing requires a statewide annual assessment in reading and math, with science periodically. The entire state could apply for a waiver from that. There are a couple of states that have applied for a waiver that are developing a different evaluation, such as a portfolio of student work. “It will be interesting to see if those states are successful, because to me that seems to be … a better system,” Copeland said. “There is a percentage of students that struggle with standardize tests.”

These proposed and passed changes will not take place until 2017, Copeland said.

 

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