School Finance Section

The LSO School Finance Section staff coordinate and staff the Legislature’s activities related to K-12 school finance and school capital construction issues. In November of 1995, the Wyoming Supreme Court declared the entire Wyoming K-12 school finance system unconstitutional. The decision effectively required the Legislature to completely redesign the funding formula for operating K-12 schools and for K-12 capital construction needs. The Court mandated the Legislature conduct a cost of education study for use in creating a new school finance system, and stated that funding disparity among school districts had to be cost based and not wealth based. In response to the Supreme Court ruling, LSO created the School Finance Section to coordinate legislative activities related to K-12 school finance reform and for school capital construction. The sections below discuss the services available to legislators from the LSO related to the Legislature’s K-12 efforts.

Coordinating K12 Efforst

We serve as staff to the various committees that are currently charged with K-12 responsibilities, in addition to staffing the Education Committee. We coordinate K-12 legislative activities between the Legislature, the State Department of Education, and local school districts. We are also responsible for coordinating the work of consultants hired by the Management Council to provide expertise on K-12 finance issues and capital construction issues.

School Finance Model

The Legislature is currently in the process of completing modifications to the school finance model and addressing issues raised by the Supreme Court regarding the model. During 2001, the Management Council and the co-chairs of the Joint Education Interim Committee and the Joint Appropriations Interim Committee directed a model reconfiguration and worked with the Education, Revenue, and Appropriations Committees in formulating legislative recommendations to refine the model in response to the Supreme Court’s 2001 decision. Following reconfiguration of components and adjustments, model refinements continue in an attempt to address court concerns. We are responsible for coordinating the activities of these bodies. We are also responsible for "crunching" numbers related to proposed modifications of the school finance model. We also provide information to legislators about the various local, state, and federal revenue streams associated with K-12 financing.

Capital Construction (CAPCON)

In 2002, the Legislature created the School Facilities Commission, responsible for school building adequacy and for remediation of inadequate buildings. We coordinate capital construction activities between the Legislature and the Commission and we help staff the capital construction work of legislative committees involved in K-12 capital construction. A select committee of the Legislature is working with the Commission to develop processes and policies for establishing school building adequacy levels and scheduling and implementing building remediation. We also provide information to legislators regarding K-12 capital construction issues.