A substitute school funding bill passed first reading in Wyoming’s House of Representatives this week, but second reading won’t happen until next week.
Sheridan County’s Rep. Mark Kinner said House Bill 173 contains some minor cuts as well as a proposed one percent sales tax that would be implemented when the state’s rainy day fund drops to $650 million.
Kinner said the bill has been deferred until Monday or possibly Tuesday next week because the House was working on budget amendments Friday.
Kinner said the bill currently calls for cuts of less than 1 percent in education funding.
Kinner said one of his main focuses is how the education spending bill will affect Sheridan County School District 2, because that’s his district. And he said after visiting with School District 2 officials, he knows they are expecting, and planning for, cuts in funding to education.
But at this time, he said, he doesn’t know what the final cuts will be. He said Wyoming’s Senate is looking at its own education funding bill, but he hasn’t yet seen that bill. If the Senate bill passes, it will come to the House, while the House bill will go to the Senate, and at that time, a committee of senators and representatives will be appointed to work out a compromise between the two bills.
In a meeting of the Senate Education Committee last month, Josh Anderson with the Legislative Services Office, said starting in fiscal year 2022 and beyond, the state is looking at about a $300 million per year shortfall in education funding.