Three constitutional amendments proposed to tackle school funding

CHEYENNE — By the end of the first day of the 2018 legislative session, state lawmakers had proposed three different constitutional amendments to tackle the deficits facing school funding.

The proposals — two from the Senate and one from the House — come as the full Legislature begins to grapple with a two-pronged education funding deficit. The first prong, K-12 operations, has received more attention and attempted fixes than the second, school construction and maintenance. But both have looming deficits created largely by the recent economic downturn.

The three bills would all take different approaches to addressing the deficits. One, Senate Joint Resolution 1, would lower the amount of school funding that Wyoming provides to the level spent by neighboring states. Currently, school districts in the Equality State receive more than $17,000 per pupil. The Senate amendment, which is sponsored by Sen. Ogden Driskill, would instead take the five-year average of six nearby states’ per-student spending and apply it to districts here.