District 1 Discusses Legislative Issues

Wyoming State Seal
Wyoming State Seal

At Tuesday's District 1 Board meeting, considerable discussion took place regarding the abundance of education bills in the Wyoming Legislative Session. Superintendent Sue Belish comments.

Belish urges others besides fellow educators to contact legislators to “get those good stories out there.”

To contact the legislators while they are in Cheyenne, click here: http://www.sheridanmedia.com/qui...

A list of several of the education bills and brief descriptions follows:

Tenure or Continuing Contract Status: This bill would eliminate continuing contract status, supposedly making it easier to dismiss or terminate teachers who were not meeting expectations. It would allow any teacher who was not recommended for rehire to request a hearing in front of an independent hearing officer, which could be a very costly and time consuming process.

Parent Trigger: This bill would allow parents to petition for major changes at their child's school if it is determined to be “failing.” Parents would be able to request new leadership or that a school become a public charter school.

Accountability in Education Act: This bill creates an accountability system for schools based on student achievement in reading and math measured by test scores on PAWS. This is the first phase of the system. A second phase would tie student achievement data to individual teachers and principals to measure employee effectiveness. Phase two will probably include additional student achievement data.

Longer School Year: This bill would extend the required number of students school days from 175 to 180.

Teacher Merit Pay: This bill would require the state superintendent to develop criteria for performance-based pay increases for teachers. A committee of lawmakers, education officials, and educators will decide the specific performance measurements.

Hathaway Success Curriculum: This bill would add performing arts and career/vocational courses as an option to the foreign language requirement for the Hathaway Scholarship Program.

Charter School Restriction: This bill would repeal prohibitions on charter school applications and allow charter schools to be created to avoid consolidation or closure, to convert a private school to a public school and to contract with a third-party management company. It would also change some timelines.

Charter School Appeals: This bill would strengthen the appeals process for charter school applications denied by local school boards.

Seclusion and Restraint in Schools: This bill would require the state superintendent and local school boards to adopt guidelines for secluding or restraining students in schools.

School Finance Local Resources: This bill changes how money is collected from counties and distributed to school districts. County treasurers would send local tax money to the state for distribution to districts.

School Facilities Commission Reorganization: This bill would establish the School Facilities Department as an administrative agency of government, clarify responsibilities and authority of the commission and the school facilities department.

School Facilities Adequacy Assessment: This bill would revise and clarify how to rank buildings based on need and require periodic review of the process.

School Finance (Recalibration): This bill keeps most of the current funding formula in place with very few changes.

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