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Gov urges Legislature to tackle education funding, 'basket of goods' head-on

Governor Mark Gordon and First Lady Jennie Gordon walk toward the House chamber before his State of the State address during the opening joint session of the 2020 Budget Session of the Wyoming State Legislature on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Cheyenne. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CHEYENNE – While Gov. Mark Gordon discussed taking a look at Wyoming’s education mandates, known as the “Basket of Goods,” and recalibrating them during his annual State of the State address Monday morning, he also praised the state’s education system. 

He described meeting with acting University of Wyoming president Dr. Neil Theobold and the presidents of the state’s community colleges about two weeks ago to discuss why these colleges are so important to the state. 

He touted his administration for securing additional financial resources for fiscal year 2020 to help strategize, evaluate and improve all of the state’s education systems, from early education to post-secondary. 


“We are hearing good things around the state about the strides we are making in workforce development,” the governor said. 

He urged the legislators to take this year’s budget session to think critically about education funding and to discuss what subjects they felt would be most important for Wyoming students should learn. However, he didn’t mention the ongoing computer science standards saga. 

“I am committed to working with you (the legislators) to find a solution,” he said. “This is something we simply cannot afford to put off. This train has arrived and the people of Wyoming know it. Let us not miss it.” 


According to the state’s revenue forecast compiled by the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CERG), the bottom line for K-12 funding has decreased by $7.5 million over the last fiscal year and will be down by $16.2 million for fiscal year 2021-22. The decreased value of natural gas affected education funding, according to CERG. 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow has also asked the Wyoming Legislature to consider changes to the “basket of goods.”

Some of the proposed education bills for this year’s session include Senate File 0015, which covers absenteeism and truancy; SF0016, which covers school district procurement; House Bill 0015, which deals with the school capital construction account and HB0040, which deals with school finance calibration. 


During his speech, Gordon also recognized Wyoming’s 2020 “Teacher of the Year” Dane Weaver during his speech.