Education and Training

Quality Education is not some new liberal idea. The hard working, conservative people that settled this state knew that our future depended on a quality education system –

That is why in 1889 – 129 years ago – The Citizens mandated that the Wyoming Legislature provide for and fully fund the education of our Citizens when they approved the Wyoming Constitution.

A quality education system is essential for the growth and prosperity of Wyoming.

This begins with early childhood development, into K- 12, and on to Vocational training, Community Colleges, and the University of Wyoming. 

Wyoming Constitutional Requirements 

The Wyoming Constitution Article 7 Education Section 1 Legislature to provide for public schools.

The Legislature shall provide for the establishment and maintenance of a complete and uniform system of public instruction, embracing free elementary schools of every kind and grade, a university with such technical and professional departments as the public good may require and the means of the state allow, and such other institutions as may be necessary.”

Section 9. Taxation for schools. 

The Legislature shall make such further provisions by taxation or otherwise, as with the income arising from the general school fund will create and maintain a thorough and efficient system of public schools, adequate to the proper instruction of all youth of the state, between the ages of six and twenty-one years, free of charge;…”

Section 16. Tuition Free.

The University shall be equally open to students of both sexes, irrespective of race or color; and, in order that the instruction furnished may be as nearly free as possible, any amount in addition to the income from its grants of lands and other sources above mentioned, necessary to its support and maintenance in a condition of full efficiency shall be raised by taxation or otherwise, under provisions of the Legislature.”

YOUR Representatives Actions 

YOUR Legislature – and YOUR Representative in particular- has failed to uphold their duty and responsibilities to YOU and YOUR children. They have abdicated their responsibility.

They have cut funding by over $61 Million in the past two years alone, defunding programs, transferred funding requirements on to the local school districts, and been responsible for the elimination of educators because it is easy.

They have increased class size, not because it is efficient, but because it is easy.

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Proposed Solutions from YOUR current Legislature 

YOUR Legislature has thrown in the towel.

Rather than do their duty, Your Legislature Proposed changing the Wyoming Constitution to let Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and South Dakota elected leaders set the funding for Wyoming education.  (2018 SJ001)

I came here from South Dakota and the state only funds about 30% of education.  The Local School Districts fund over 50%.  Local Mil levy rate in South Dakota commonly are 12 to 20 mils.  Do YOU want a doubling or tripling of your local school taxes?

Your Legislature – and specifically YOUR Representative – Proposed changing the Wyoming Constitution to “transfer responsibility to construct school facilities to school districts.” (2018 SJ003)

YOUR Representative’s proposal will leave YOU the Park County resident two choices for building or maintaining schools.  (1) Pass a Local Bond to possibly double or triple your local property taxes.  (2) Don’t pass a Local Bond and schools fall into disrepair, can not be expanded, and no new schools are built.

49% of the residents (62% of voting age residents) of Park County are 45 years old or older.  Most of these have no children in school and many are on a fixed income.  What is the chance that a major Bond Issue to build or maintain schools have of passing?

Your Legislature –  Proposed changing the Wyoming Constitution so that instead of fully funding education they only had to fund what “the Legislature determines necessary”.  (2018 SJ004)

Your Legislators have through their actions demonstrated that they can not or will not fulfill their Constitutional Duties.

MY Solutions

It is easy to say what is wrong, but we need Leaders with solutions that are willing to share ideas with everyone, accept constructive improvements, not care whose idea it is, and do what is best for our children’s future and the future of Wyoming.

First, we must do a better job of investing YOUR money and assets. (Refer to my position on Fiscal Accountability).

The wholesale dismantling of our education system the past two years could have been completely avoid with a return on investment of YOUR money by as little as 0.15% per year. That would have been easily attainable as my personal financial adviser in Cody beat the State’s return by 3.8%.

Instead of fighting over who or what to blame, or what to cut; YOUR representative should be auguring over how to perform better with YOUR assets.

Secondly, we must look at making our property tax system fairer. (Refer to my position on taxation)

Taxing out of state businesses, corporations, and investors as businesses would generate over $7 Million in new tax revenues in Park County.  My proposal would raise over $1 million for each for Powell and Cody Schools and Northwest College, without costing a Wyoming resident a dollar.

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That is how we can do it now here is what we need to do. 

We need to invest in Pre-Kindergarten programs so that our children are better prepared to learn. I support either full day pre-school or half day of pre-school and half day of state funded program in the same location. This would eliminate the hardship on low income and single parent families of having to make pick up arrangements and leave work. These programs can be dedicated to improving the children’s social interaction skills and concentrate on health, well-being, and respect issues.

We need to expand opportunities in math, science, and computer skills in High School. We need to expand opportunities for Advanced Placement classes to keep the top students engaged, yet maintain quality programs and opportunities for all students.

I strongly believe that vocational training starting at the high school level is very important and cost effective.  We face a shortage of workers that can and will “work with their hands” as well as their minds. I believe that vocational and technical programs have been underfunded and underutilized for too long.

School districts working with the legislature, businesses, and organized labor can and should be encouraged to develop vocational programs that not only help fill the current workforce needs but that look into the future.  Schools need to ensure that graduates are ready when the jobs of the future become available. Internships and apprenticeship programs are a vital function of vocational training.

Vocational and technical training must also address the needs of older workers that have been forcibly displaced and those seeking a career change.

I believe that special education needs to be fully funded with an emphasis in early childhood development so that children do not have to try and catch up later.  Monies spent in the early years of education will result in monies saved in the future as well as providing better outcomes for the students.

We need to support “Alternative learning centers” where those that have “dropped out” can return to complete their education once they have resolved the issues they were having.

A quality education system for Pre-K through post graduate not only keeps our children and grandchildren in Wyoming; it is essential for attracting the young workers with families that Wyoming needs to grow and prosper.

We can educate and keep our youth to build a better Wyoming – or we can continue to dismantle education, drive our youth away, and wait for the next BUST to occur.

YOU are worth Fighting For! 

Mike 

Specht4HD50

                                       Paid for by Mike Specht, 24 Hail Basin Rd, Clark WY 82435