BUFFALO — Johnson County School District No. 1 administrators take note of a recent lawsuit filed by the Wyoming Educational Association, alleging the state legislature failed to provide adequate funding for K-12 education.

Superintendent Charles Orsky said district administrators and the school board have not yet discussed the lawsuit, but if others in the district or state agree to the lawsuit, they can join as plaintiffs.

“There’s always been the option for the district to participate in this lawsuit, but apart from the text circulating around social media (and) it’s very fresh from the press, there’s been no glimpse of what actually happens. I did,” he said.

The WEA lawsuit, filed August 18 in the First Judicial District Court in Laramie County, primarily alleges that the legislature failed in its constitutional obligation to provide adequate funding for education. .

The WEA believes that Congress could have adjusted external costs, generated new revenue streams, or adjusted funding during the school funding model review process, which occurs at least every five years. claims that there is

By not providing additional funding through these means, the lawsuit alleges, the state legislature failed in its constitutional obligation to adequately fund Wyoming’s schools.

WEA General Counsel Patrick Hacker said in a press release: “The point of the lawsuit is to get the legislature to fulfill its constitutional obligations. Enforcing the Constitution to stop the deterioration.”

The lawsuit alleges that Congress is underfunding education, but Senator Dave Kinski believes otherwise.

“This[lawsuit]seeks to create a whole new category of spending,” Kinski said. “This is absolutely an attempt by the Supreme Court to force Congress to create new taxes or raise existing ones, and I think it is insane for a court to do so.”

Kinski points to multiple parts of the complaint that refer to unresolved state revenue issues, giving the state legislature to establish new revenue streams as grounds for believing the lawsuit is more about taxes than about funding education. I pointed out that I have not made any effort to do so.

He said his time at Cheyenne led to the lawsuit, saying, “Each year, for eight years, I’ve heard, ‘You better give me everything I want or I’ll go.'” Kinski, who said he was not necessarily surprised by the It says it will work with sources to “continue to provide adequate funding for education.”

He said the legislature views education funding the same way it views everyone else who comes to Congress for money from limited resources.

“You claim what you think you need,” he said. “Congress looks at all the resources available and does what it does best with the funds it has, but not everyone goes to Cheyenne and comes back with everything they want. That’s exactly how the system works. is.”

But Auzqui said he understands the reasons for the lawsuit, notably due to Congress’ failure to provide the district’s external cost adjustments during last spring’s budget session.

The school board proposed a $72 million external cost adjustment during the session. But it was scrapped entirely after being cut to just $10.1 million by the entire legislative branch.

“If you have the money to provide an ECA, but you put the $1 billion into savings, what is it like that caused[lawsuits]? It doesn’t help the cause when there’s something in need of repair or some repair,” said Orsky.

According to the legislative branch’s report, the adjustment to external costs is intended to “reflect changes in the cost of resources” during the year Congress considers adjustments to the education funding model.

Auzqui has frequently and adamantly endorsed external cost adjustments, especially as the Johnson County district went through last year’s budget process.

He will testify before the Congressional Joint Board of Education in October 2021, telling a group of lawmakers how to help school districts adjust to what he calls the “new normal,” primarily when it comes to employment in communities in Wyoming. He said that money would help.

“It’s very difficult to find the sensitive people we need to help our district,” he told the commission. We’re struggling with how we manage it, we’re competing with McDonald’s who pay $15 an hour, and yes, they may not have benefits, but the reality is we’re competing with those wages.”

This article was published on September 1, 2022.

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