Wyoming governor announces new education advisory committee

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has announced a 10-person advisory committee tasked with re-imagining the state’s K-12 education system.

The Reimagining and Innovating the Delivery of Education, or RIDE, committee will gather input from residents on what they want the education system to include, the Casper Star-Tribune reported Wednesday. Gordon, a Republican, said none of the members represent specific education-focused interest groups.

“Wyoming’s future is intertwined with education. If we don’t provide a world-class education system, we will be challenged to stay competitive in a changing world and retain the families that make up both the fabric of our communities and the heart of our workforce,” Gordon said in a statement on Wednesday. “Answering that challenge is more than just a funding question.”

Gordon said he first mentioned the initiative last month after the state Legislature adjourned its regular session without resolving a $300 million deficit in education funding.

“I have to say I was disappointed that we were not able to come to some sort of an agreement on school funding,” Gordon said last month. “I believe it’s time I start to take a role in that discussion.”

At the time, Gordon proposed trimming the deficit with new cuts or new taxes. It’s now up to the advisory group to come up with a solution.

“The Governor asked these individuals to participate, and they agreed to contribute their time,” said Michael Pearlman, a spokesperson for the governor. “He selected citizens who he believed would bring an unbiased, open-minded, common-sense approach to broadly exploring education in Wyoming.”

The committee is scheduled to meet for the first time in June. It is unclear how the group’s work will be used.

The Wyoming Supreme Court mandates that the state pay for an equal and adequate education for every K-12 student. But lobbyists have worried without a new approach, the state could risk legal action.

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The Associated Press

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