An e-mail from Better Wyoming
Help us tell the story.
Over the past two years, the Legislature has cut $55 million from Wyoming’s annual public education budget. As a result, at least five schools have closed, more than 575 public school jobs have been eliminated, and 44 of the state’s 48 school districts have terminated programs.
Those are the figures. But what are the human-level impacts of the Legislature’s education cuts?
Better Wyoming is looking for stories that illustrate what’s at stake for students, families, and communities as the Legislature looks to cut even more from Wyoming public schools. Maybe your child’s favorite class or activity has been canceled, or her best teacher was refused a raise and took a job out of state, or the neighborhood school at the center of your community has been shuttered.
I’ve read about Emily Grable, a Casper fifth grader who looked forward to learning to play a musical instrument this fall but whose hopes were dashed when her school cut band class.
I’ve heard about Terry Cain, a long-time Big Piney teacher who arrived one day to work and found her young colleague in tears because she’s been laid off, and who gave up her own job instead so that the young teacher could continue to pursue her life’s work.
There are more stories out there. Do you have one? Does someone you know?
School officials I’ve spoken with often describe their efforts to “protect the classroom” as cuts are handed down. This means that students have been spared the biggest impacts—so far. Larger school districts, in particular, have been able to shield their classrooms. But smaller rural schools haven’t been so lucky, and will continue to be hit hardest as the Legislature defunds them.
Better Wyoming is looking to tell stories that make people understand that lawmakers’ bogus claims about “bloated teacher salaries” and Wyoming not getting its “bang for the buck” have real-life consequences.
Please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if you have a story to tell, so we can try to stop the Legislature from making further cuts to Wyoming public schools.
If we can’t stop the cuts, I’m afraid there might become too many stories to tell.
Director, Better Wyoming