Two Wyoming school facilities bills move forward

2012-10-31T21:00:00Z 2013-01-04T19:50:06Z Two Wyoming school facilities bills move forwardBy ELYSIA CONNER Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

Wyoming legislators have approved two draft bills dealing with factors that drive how large to build schools. They didn’t advance a proposed bill that would have given Wyoming school districts more responsibility over construction and renovation projects.

The Legislature’s Select School Facilities Committee on Monday approved draft legislation to set into state law a method to project school enrollment five years from project completion.

The School Facilities Department used the method for the Natrona County School District’s high school projects, but it has not been codified.

Previously, the department calculated school capacity based on enrollment projected five years from the start of the construction project.

The five-year enrollment calculation applies to all projects approved in the last budget and moving forward, according to Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper.

The committee also approved a draft bill that would place into statute the current method used to calculate capacity at secondary schools and a new method to calculate capacity at elementary schools.

The purpose is to ensure schools are built large enough for their populations, according to Harshman.

Currently, secondary schools are built to 85 percent capacity, and the bill would maintain that percentage.

The School Facilities Department and the School Facilities Commission had proposed building to 87.5 percent of capacity for high schools, 90 percent for middle schools and 100 percent for elementary schools, according to Harshman.

The bill also proposes a new method called the “homeroom instructional method” to calculate capacity of elementary schools. The committee agreed to build elementary schools at

100 percent capacity, but that percentage only applies to “homerooms,” or the major classroom spaces. The percentage doesn’t apply to other spaces like gyms and art rooms, according to Harshman.

The failed draft legislation to increase school board involvement in construction wasn’t “ready for prime-time,” Harshman said. The bill was designed to speed up the school construction process and save costs associated with delays. Legislators still want to move in that direction, Harshman said.

“I don’t think we’re at that point right now to mandate it,” he added.

The committee also set aside a bill to establish an advisory committee to the School Facilities Commission to facilitate planning projects and communication between the commission and the School Facilities Department.

The department manages planning, design and construction of school projects. The commission oversees the department.

Legislators want to give the School Facilities Department time to gain momentum after many recent changes, several of them legislative initiatives, Harshman said. It seems they’ve crested the hill, he added.

Sen. Bill Landen, R-Casper, said he wasn’t convinced the proposal would work as intended and could add to the bureaucracy and slow proceedings.

Reach education reporter Elysia Conner at 307-266-0593 or elysia.conner@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter @ElysiaConner.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Untitled Document

Civil Dialogue

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters.

If your comment was not approved, perhaps...

  1. You called someone an idiot, a racist, a dope, a moron, etc. Please, no name-calling or profanity (or veiled profanity -- #$%^&*).

  2. You rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.

  3. YOU SHOUTED YOUR COMMENT IN ALL CAPS. This is hard to read and annoys readers.

  4. You have issues with a business. Have a bad meal? Feel you were overcharged at the store? New car is a lemon? Contact the business directly with your customer service concerns.

  5. You believe the newspaper's coverage is unfair. It would be better to write the editor at editors@trib.com, or call Editor Jason Adrians at 266-0545 or Content Director David Mayberry at 266-0633. This is a forum for community discussion, not for media criticism. We'd rather address your concerns directly.

  6. You included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.

  7. You accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.

  8. Your comment is in really poor taste.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Featured Businesses

Latest Offers