I understand that Wyoming is looking at budget shortfalls. The legislature has a tough job, trying to balance a budget, especially since so many of them are opposed to tax increases. When money is running low, the smart folks begin cutting back until the realization that survival depends on bringing money in. Unfortunately, too many legislators won't do what it takes to bring money in. Instead, they seem willing to sacrifice the future of our young people by continually cutting education funding.
Senator Scott proposes that extracurriculars, sports, music, and the like are pointless distractions. He claims that the increased money spent on education has not produced better outcomes, not by a long shot. I beg to differ. Since 2009, Wyoming students in grades 4 and 8 continually score higher than the national average on the National Assessment of Education Performance. Wyoming has had the best scores of every state west of the Mississippi. In addition, graduation rates continue to rise.
As someone who taught in public school for 38 years, I can tell you that many students become inspired by classes such as music and art. To participate in athletics, students must maintain a passing grade average. Sen. Scott is wrong to say these programs are an unnecessary distraction. They help to produce well-rounded and productive citizens.
A 1% sales tax increase that would be spent on education would help generate funding to fill the gap. It is estimated that it would bring in $164M the first year. Please let your legislator know that they absolutely will not get your vote next time they run if they make more deep cuts to our children's education.
DEBBIE BOVEE, Casper