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Second Thoughts About Education Funding

Gingery

Teton County’s State Representative Keith Gingery met with the Wyoming Legislature’s Management Council this week prior to the upcoming Budget Session. Gingery says one of the major issues on the table is the cost of living adjustment for school districts.  A proposal put forth by the Legislature’s Education Committee could potentially cut $3.8-million from Teton County School District’s budget.  The economist that was hired is only looking at how much it costs to “hire” a teacher, not at the costs to “hold” on to that teacher.  The economist is probably right that it doesn’t actually cost much more in Teton County than in other areas of Wyoming to initially attract a teacher for his or her first year of teaching. Gingery says the problem is that when those teacher want to move out of a rental into a home and start a family, they couldn’t afford to stay here.  The model suggested does not reward experience of longevity with appropriate increases in salaries.  Consequently, it would make for a revolving door for beginning teachers. The economist’s theory is that when one 1st year teacher leaves, we would just hire another 1st year teacher.  We would end up with no teachers with any experience or any ties to our community. Gingery says others on the committee also recognize the flaw now, and he is confident that the legislature will be able to arrive at a compromise on the matter.  The so-called “short session” begins February 13th.

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