Future of education focus of panel roundtable

How Wyoming should balance the need to address revenue declines with the constitutional obligation to educate the state’s citizens will be the focus of a discussion Thursday night.

A panel of experts will convene starting at 5 p.m. for a roundtable talk on “The Real Cost of Defunding Education in Wyoming.” The event will be via Zoom and is open free to the public.

The roundtable is presented by the Equality State Policy Center.

In accordance with the state constitution, Wyoming’s Supreme Court ruled in 1995 that Wyoming must provide an adequate and equitable education to every student, ruling that all other financial considerations of the state must yield “until education is funded.”

Chris Merrill, who’s executive director of the Equality State Policy Center, said the issue for Wyoming’s Legislature now, when the state is facing some steep revenue declines, is how to ensure that providing a quality education remains a top priority.

He said thanks to taxes and royalties paid by mineral industries, Wyoming’s promise to educate its citizens has been easy to keep. But that has changed with the decline of the mineral industry.

The panel discussion will feature Wyoming State Senator Jeff Wasserburger, Wyoming Education Association Government Relations Director Tate Mullen, Janine Bay Teske, who is Teton County School District liaison to the Wyoming Legislature and Wyoming School Board Association past president, and Wyoming School Board Association Director Brian Farmer.

People can register for the discussion online at https://equalitystate.org/the-peoples-review/.

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