“As a state, we have not done enough to investigate the voucher system and how that might look in Wyoming,” Balow said. “I absolutely support the evaluation and discussion moving forward to make sure it’s a fit for Wyoming.”
Winney and Lain agree, saying parents should have a choice in their children’s education.
“I’m a public school advocate,” Lain said, noting her decades of work in public education. “I believe in the public school notion that this America stands or falls based on the enlightenment of our public.”
However, she said her son attended a religious-based school during high school “and it was a good place for him to be.”
“As a public school teacher, I would like very much to think that my choice could have been subsidized,” Lain said.
Wyoming has many quality home-schooling parents and school options with charter school and private institutions, she continued.
“Not being completely aware of how it would be to change this particular law, I would like to offer the idea that school choice is the ultimate right of a parent and should that parent find it necessary for a child to go to an alternative situation, I would support that completely,” Lain said.
She said she would like to “look into what it would take to revamp the rules and regulations about funding.”
During his years in the U.S. Navy, Winney was stationed on the island of Guam with his family. He and his wife faced the decision to home-school their children because they were unhappy with the quality of the local schools.
“We had to make that choice, and it wasn’t an easy choice,” Winney said. “Parents should be supported when they have to face those kind of choices.”
Winney said education vouchers would have to be worked out with legislators.
“I would work with the Legislature — that would be a long discussion in the Legislature,” Winney said.
He also said that the Legislature and education leaders in the state have a responsibility to make sure the school districts are so well-operated that parents wouldn’t want to use a voucher for alternative education.
For faith-based reasons, Balow said she and her husband decided to send their children to a Christian school for four years, “not because they wouldn’t be successful in the public school, but because that’s a deeply personal family choice we made.
“As a parent of two kids in public schools, I have exercised my ability to make alternative choices for both of my children,” Balow said.
Balow said that as an educator and government leader, she works to make sure families have options and access “to think outside the traditional school, bricks and mortar building.”