Cody School Board Hosts Crucial Meeting at CMS Tonight
Written by Andrew-Rossi on April 12, 2021
As the Cody school district faces difficult decisions, tonight’s meeting at Cody Middle School is the public’s chance to stand up, speak up, and be heard.
Park County School District #6 is trying to figure out how the future of education will look in Cody. Unfortunately, that means trimming the district’s budget – and could mean the reduction or elimination of some school activities.
On March 23, Park County School District #6 announced a public meeting to discuss sports and activities considering looming budget cuts.
That meeting will be held this evening, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Cody Middle School Commons.
Board chair Brandi Nelson and recently re-elected member Stefanie Bell want to clarify several points for the Cody public. There is confusion about tonight’s meeting – and the March 22 meeting where potential cuts were presented to the board.
The widely circulated graphic detailing activity cuts wasn’t anything close to official. It was merely contingencies drawn up by Activities Director Tony Hult and the board’s school budget committee.
Budget cuts of anywhere from 10%-25% are possible. Due to the Wyoming Legislature’s lack of action, the exact percentage is unknown.
The Wyoming Legislature recently ended its 2021 session without any resolution to the state’s education funding. Neither house could agree on how to resolve the deficit before the session adjured.
The March 22 meeting was the first time the entire board got a chance to see the budget committee’s results.
“That was a starting point. That’s how we started the conversation,” Nelson says. “We asked Mr. Hult to do the difficult work of looking at all his programs and saying – in his worst-case scenario – what does this look like? This process has just begun. There are no decisions – we’re not even close to decisions.”
“(The March 22 meeting) was a special meeting of the board to bring the board up to speed on the work the budget committee has done,” Bell elaborates. “It was an opportunity for the board to look at that, ask questions, and ask for more information. It’s a starting point of conversation – not the starting point of cuts.”
Public input is and will continue to be taken before anything is cut from any Cody schools. There are no activities currently being targeted for elimination.
“We’re taking input. We’re trying to be as transparent in the funding we receive, in activities, in athletics,” Bell says.
“We’re hoping that we remember that we’re neighbors. That we love each other’s kids. We really want students to do well and excel and have opportunities – we’re just going to have to do some of those things differently. Some of those opportunities may be eliminated. But there is no activity being looked at by the trustees to say ‘that’s going away.’ None of those decisions have been made.”
Chairperson Nelson stressed that the Board of Trustees’ goal hasn’t changed, despite the decisions they will be making in the next few months. That goal, now and always, is to “keep the district whole.”
The entire board encourages the concerned Cody public to attend the April 12 meeting and have their voices heard. Those voices could make all the difference in the difficult decisions yet to come.
“I hope people can hear that and can walk this road with us as we look at difficult decisions and be a positive part of this process,” Bell says.
And if you can’t make it to the Middle School you can watch the meeting here: https://boxcast.tv/view/park-6-activities-public-forum-257174?fbclid=IwAR2OcpHSkoZux8GSw1kC4zyAgd6mfERcpUMD8_DMzN3KpF2O_l1vV5sPOQ0