For the past few years, it seems I’ve spent a large portion of my time as a superintendent defending schools and fighting politicians as they seek to take funding and add layers of accountability. And, for what it’s worth, I’ve not been reluctant to take my fair share of shots at them in my blog and in the newspaper. But after this past week, I need to take a step back and make sure that I haven’t painted with too broad a brush. There are still statesmen (as opposed to politicians) among us, and Wyoming has quite a few. And Sublette County is truly blessed to be served by two gentlemen I have come to know and respect.
Today was the last day for legislators to introduce bills. We are a long way from final outcomes, but at this point we know what we’re dealing with and the view is a whole lot better than where it started. I don’t have the time or space to list all of the positive things that Rep. Jim Roscoe and Sen. Dan Dockstader have done for SCSD #1 over the last couple of weeks, but were truly instrumental in our successful efforts to maintain the Regional Cost Adjustment funding. Much of what they did was “iceberg” work, some of it showed above the surface but a vast degree of it was under the surface and unseen by most. But I can tell you that it was significant and it made a difference. Thank you gentlemen for your efforts.
Senator Dockstader deserves a special mention. On very short notice and with great passion, he introduced SF 13, a bill to remove the moratorium on alternative school funding. This measure is key to the success of at-risk students at SCSD #1. While the bill did not get the required 2/3 vote needed for introduction in a budget session, failing 16-13, I am tremendously optimistic about this vote. It shows a majority of support and a rising degree of understanding regarding this issue. We hope to have the issue moved forward as an interim topic and we have our eye on an introduction again next year. Thank you Sen. Dockstader.
I also need to thank some other people. Bill Winney, Mayor Steve Smith and County Commissioner Joel Bousman served as our eyes, ears and voice in Cheyenne. They kept us informed through email and text, testified on our behalf, and lobbied in person for us on a number of issues. Sam Bixler, Ann Noble, Doc Johnson, Dari Quirk, Ana Cupril, and a small army of SCSD #1 employees did an amazing job of making phone calls and writing letters and emails that made a huge difference. Our Board of Trustees for all of their efforts, both public and private. Sublette 9 Superintendent Gerry Chase and Teton 1 Superintendent Pam Shea did an amazing job rallying the troops in their respective districts. And lastly, my family for tolerating my prolonged absences during this process. I’m sure I am missing someone, and for that I apologize, but thank you to everyone who spent their time and energy working to help us ensure the best for our students.