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Conference likely for school finance funding bill

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A measure dealing with school finance funding, House Bill 173, will likely go before a joine Wyoming House/Senate conference committee to work out differences between the two legislative bodies.

Sheridan County’s Rep. Mark Kinner said the bill went to the Senate earlier this week.

Kinner said among those differences is the half penny sales tax that legislators in the House called for in the House bill to help fund the state’s public schools when the state’s rainy day fund drops below $650 million. Kinner said the Senate’s version of the bill omits the half penny tax.

He said he thinks the Senate also added some additional cuts to funding in the bill.

If the Senate moved quickly on the bill, Kinner thought a conference committee could be in place by Friday.

Funding of Wyoming’s schools is a major concern for Wyoming lawmakers, and Kinner said the bill left the House last week with about $80 million in reductions over the next three years.

At a meeting of the Senate Education Committee earlier this month, Josh Anderson with the Legislative Services Office said starting in 2022, the state is looking at a shortfall of $300 million a year in education funding.

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