Wyoming Education Association

Fall 2018

Issue link: http://digital.copcomm.com/i/1036712

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Fall 2018 | wyoea.edu 2 Fall 2018 | wyoea.edu Executive Director's Message Once again, WEA has your back! We WON! As a result of WEA's work, the School Facilities Commission backed down from their attempt to change the rules to increase the classroom capacity calculation from 16:1 to 25:1 in grades K-3 for all school buildings. Increased class sizes makes reaching each student and connecting one-on-one diffi cult for teachers, and negatively impacts the quality of education delivered to our students. The leaders, staff and attorneys of the Wyoming Education Association are constantly vigilant to protect attacks that could diminish the quality of education constitutionally mandated for our Wyoming students! The latest attack was an attempt to increase class size by allowing new school buildings to be built to accommodate a larger class size than what is currently mandated by law. The rule also aff ected current buildings that may be beyond capacity at the 16:1 ratio. The new calculation would have forced existing schools to increase their class sizes to 25 in grades K-3 before the School Facilities Department would pay for modular classrooms. This back-door approach to bypass the Legislative process comes from the School Facilities Department (SFD), an agency under the executive branch. At the behest of the SFD, the School Facilities Commission, a non-elected, governor appointed entity, implemented "emergency rules" with little or no real opportunity for public input. There was no "emergency." The previous rules had been in place for years and there had been no move to revise them. It appeared that the SFD staff was attempting to set up a scenario where the "emergency" rules adopted with little public awareness input should now be made permanent through a rushed process, again without proper public information and opportunity for public input. In response to these actions, WEA submitted a request for public comment opportunities. Only one public hearing was scheduled, which was September 18th in Cody. The hearing was scheduled during the day, making it extremely diffi cult for education employees to attend. Not to worry. WEA Government Relations Director Tammy Schroeder testifi ed, relying on a 12-page document prepared by our legal fi rm, Hacker, Hacker and Kendal, which outlined the outrageousness of the emergency rules and the negative impact of increasing class size. As part of our campaign, the WEA launched a petition drive that generated more than a thousand signatures opposing the school facilities actions. Thank you to all who signed this petition! This is just one example of how WEA has your back. You belong to WEA because you know we do this critical policy work. We know that your place is in the classroom, on the bus, in the school building or on campus. Your passion is for your students, and to provide the best education possible. Our passion is to be sure the legislature, school boards, and administrators give you the best tools possible to do that job. Ron Sniffi n WEA Executive Director rsniffi n@wyoea.org WEA Has Your Back! WEA President and staff monitor these entities' meetings throughout the year. The work done by WEA at these meetings positively infl uences education policy and legislation in Wyoming. State Legislature and Legislative Committees • Infl uencing draft legislation • Lobbying legislators, the governor's offi ce, and U.S. Congressional delegation • Monitor and attend all committee meetings relevant to educational issues • Attend every minute of every legislative session • Meet regularly with legislators to inform them of education priorities Professional Teaching Standards Board • Certifi cation issues • Professional Development Resources Wyoming State Board of Ed • Promulgation of rules and regulations • Appointment of committee participants School Facilities Commission • Funding and approval of school construction and major maintenance Community College Commission • Issues impacting Higher Education Issues Wyoming Department of Ed • Professional development • Committee work around policies and regulations State Lands Investment Board • Protection of State School Trust Lands

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