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Wyoming looks to adjust school funding model

Wyoming looks to adjust school funding model


The amount of money Wyoming schools receive from the state could change in the next few months. 

That's because schools are about to enter a process known as "recalibration," which takes place every five years. 

In May, a special legislative committee will meet to begin looking at how schools are funded. The committee will work with the Wyoming Department of Education, the governor's office, local communities and legislators to determine what schools in the state need financially to be successful. 

That need is often referred to as "the required basket of goods and services" for students in each district.

To determine need, those involved will look at elements of the school funding model -- such as enrollment, transportation, special education -- that affect how much money each district receives.

The process comes after members of the Wyoming School District Coalition of Superintendents helped pass a bill during this year's legislative session that provided money to account for inflation in Wyoming school districts. 

The money was intended largely to help places that experienced oil booms and busts since the last recalibration. 

Wyoming's schools are funded based on a redistribution model.

The state sets a target amount of money for each district to raise through local tax dollars. The districts that don't meet the goal receive the difference from the School Foundation Program. They are known as entitlement districts.

If a district raises more money than it needs, however, then the extra money enters back into the foundation and is redistributed to the entitlement districts. 

About a third of state foundation funding comes from federal mineral royalties.

The model stems from a 1995 Wyoming Supreme Court decision that resulted in a number of revisions. 

Follow education reporter Nick Balatsos on Twitter @Nick_Balatsos.


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