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Rep. Scott Heiner says House proposed cuts to K-12 education is about 4.6% over next three years

Wyoming state Representative Scott Heiner (R-HD18) says the recent House proposed cuts to education K-12 is about $70 million or 4.6% over three years.

He says one positive aspect of this proposal is it is not cutting any jobs. He says there are lots of “ghosts” positions that the state is funding but are not actually filled.

“Positions for assistance principals, tutors, education facilitators, and so on,” Heiner said. “To give you an example we are funding 376 tutors throughout the state and there’s only 154 that are employed.”

That means that the state is funding full benefits and wages to jobs that are not actually there and that is why he called them “ghosts” positions.

He says with this rollback they were able to find a “significant amount of money” to help with budget concerns. He says the House also found it was paying double for nurses that weren’t there.

He is not sure where that money has gone to and there would need to be a follow up to the school board.

He says another positive aspect of its proposal is increased wages for current teachers.

“We’re trying to protect the classroom and our teachers,” Heiner said. “The most valuable asset in our education system.”

He says with the block grant model which the state determines how much money to give to each school district. It then writes a check and the district decides how to spend it.

“But many times we are seeing they’re taking money away from the classrooms to support the central office,” Heiner said.

He says with this proposal it will write two checks and one will be specifically for teachers and the other to the central office. The money would not be able to be combined in any way.

He also says that the original House proposal to raise sales tax 1% is still part of this plan. It will start in a few years after the savings account drops to $650 million.