A 3.7-percent external cost adjustment to the state's school funding model passed by the Legislature will mean about $500,000 more for the district next year, according to tentative figures, Mitchell said. Actual funding will depend on the …
The recently-completed session of the Wyoming Legislature was a positive one for Powell schools, but the economic situation may raise concerns in the future.“We have no particular concerns about what the Legislature did,” said Kevin Mitchell, superintendent of Park County School District No. 1 last week. “But we're watching the downturn in the economy. That's going to affect everything.”
A 3.7-percent external cost adjustment to the state's school funding model passed by the Legislature will mean about $500,000 more for the district next year, according to tentative figures, Mitchell said. Actual funding will depend on the district's average daily membership. However, Mitchell said, the district must stay aware that funding may not increase next year when the state is scheduled to recalibrate Wyoming's cost-based model for funding schools.
“We may be faced with flat spending,” Mitchell said. “We have to be careful about starting new programs that are continuous because we might not be able to fund them next year.”
Mitchell said there were several attempts to reduce support for programs not included in the funding model, such as support for instructional facilitators and school lunch programs. The district will receive reduced support for school lunch next year as a result.
Mitchell said he believes the action was “part of the maneuvering to reduce out-of-model funding.”
Among bills that would have affected the Powell school district negatively was an attempt to eliminate funding for teacher tutors. Another would have tied school accountability to student performance on the PAWS state assessment administered to students in Wyoming. Both were defeated, Mitchell said.
Of the accountability issue, Mitchell said the PAWS test is not appropriate for the purpose of determining school effectiveness.
“We're not opposed to accountability,” Mitchell said, “but we are opposed to the use of PAWS.”
A measure increasing the qualifications for instructional facilitators does not concern the district, Mitchell said, because “all of ours met the qualifications.” However, he said the district disagreed with some of the requirements, because “we want flexibility.”
A new law requiring districts to develop policies on bullying, including electronic bullying by way of e-mail, text messaging and the Internet raises no major concerns for the district, Mitchell said.
“We already have a policy on harassment, but I don't know if we have all the requirements of the new law,” Mitchell said.