Wyoming Education Association

Spring 22

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Ron Sniffin Executive Director, WEA rsniffin@wyoea.org (307)214-3389 E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R Millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) are flowing into Wyoming's school districts. Guidance from the federal government dictates that school districts must seek stakeholder input on how to use these funds. Your expertise as educators is integral to ensuring these funds are put to the best use for students. WEA has been working with locals, di stricts, and the Wyoming Department of Education to facilitate educators' involvement in ARP funds allocation. Using grant funds from NEA, WEA has hired a dedicated ARP Coordinator, Kendra Cross, to help locals coordinate with districts on the best use of ARP funds. Since the start of this school year, Kendra has been working closely with local Presidents side-by- side with your UniServ Directors. Part of our campaign included polling members and leaders, and some school districts used our survey results to help craft their plans. The goal was not only to collaboratively create a plan for using these dollars in each school district but to use this as an opportunity to illustrate that the local association can sit down with the administration and agree on ways to improve education in your school district. Nurturing a culture of collaboration between educators and administrators is a leap forward in strengthening our Association's voice. I'm happy to report that, across the state, we're seeing many success stories around ARP funding: Albany County will be allocating $600,000 for learning intervention supplies district-wide as well as an intervention curriculum library. Johnson County #1 is allocating funds directly toward recruiting and retaining staff, and Uinta County #6 has plans to award employee incentive pay using ARP dollars. F r o m t h e A R P F u n d s S p u r C o l l a b o r a t i o n W i t h D i s t r i c t s In the January edition of NEA Today, and on pages 8- 11 of this magazine, we have highlighted the ongoing positive relationship between the district and the local association in Natrona County. Their collaboration is maximizi ng the positive impact of ARP dollars for students. Unfortunately, we also hit a few roadblocks. For example, while many districts understand that they can use ARP money for employee bonuses, others adamantly refuse to believe this is allowable. Other districts went through the motions of listening to the locals yet did not include suggestions in the plan they submitted to the Wyoming Department of Educa tion. The ARP dollars will be used over the next three years, so there is still time to build this culture of collaboration between our locals and districts. And when we have moved beyond the use of ARP funds, it is our belief that districts will have realized the value of deliberate collaboration with their employee associations and will continue this relationship. WEA is poised to offer training to lea ders in locals who want to build their skills when meeting with the administration. Watch for more information this spring and summer, or reach out to your UniServ Director now if you are interested in receiving this training. ARP funds are intended to be transformative for students. We believe this transformation must include collaboration between education employees and administration. Together, the stu dents will be the winners. Ron Sniffin Executive Director, WEA 5

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