Cody School Board Seeks Community Input on Looming Cuts

Cody School Board Seeks Community Input on Looming Cuts

Written by on March 23, 2021

Park County School District #6 has tough choices ahead, and Cody residents are encouraged to speak up before any sports or activities are eliminated.

As the Wyoming Legislature continues its debates on funding public education, local districts are hoping for the best while bracing for the worst. In Cody, the Park County School District #6 Board of Trustees is already reviewing many scenarios, none of them particularly optimistic.

The latest chatter regards the school’s art program. Cody residents discussed the possible elimination of the district’s art programs in an executive session of the school board this week.

Brandi Nelson, Chair of the PCSD #6 Board of Trustees, released this statement on the district’s art programs:

“Park 6 continues to value art education.  Art in a Cart was the beginning and grew to include certified art teachers at the elementary level; unfortunately, elementary art is unfunded by the state. In the future, art will continue to be a part of our elementary students’ lives. It will be taught – just differently. 

 In making this decision, we have to consider the 2018 legislative action that includes computer science K-12. As a district, we are obligated to provide educational courses required by the state. These mandated unfunded computer science standards must be considered in our budgeting process. Unfortunately, these additional costs come during budgetary cuts. 

 Park 6 anticipates reduced funding from the state that may reach 12% or $3.9M. Since November, our district leadership team has been working to identify and recommend reductions as we continue to follow the legislative session very closely. We have considered every way to balance our budget with minimal impact to students, but an impact is inevitable. Park 6’s annual budget is 85% personnel; therefore, it’s impossible to make cuts without affecting staff. “

Parents with children in Cody schools received a dire sign in a Tuesday text message.

The message, sent Tuesday afternoon by Executive Assistant Annie Page, was not limited to just cutting art classes. As budget cuts become more focused, the next places to look at the district’s sports and other activities.

“Park #6 Schools:: As you know, the State of Wyoming is facing a significant funding deficit that could result in up to a 12% or $3.9M reduction in funding to Park 6. This will have a significant impact on every school districts’ ability to provide the educational “basket of goods and services” in the same manner as we have in the past. Our district leadership has provided recommendations to the Board of Trustees and tough decisions are being made at all levels. Our next step is to consider potential cuts to sports/activities.” 

To make sure community voices are heard, the Cody School Board invites all Cody residents to a meeting on April 12, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Cody Middle School Commons.

A survey will be sent to “stakeholders” after the district’s spring break (March 29 – April 2) “to provide an additional opportunity for input regarding potential cuts to activities.” All community members with an opinion are encouraged to attend.

The district and board of trustees are adamant: no decisions have been made at this point. The district will be making no decisions until everyone is heard.

The Tuesday text message ended by stating that point once again.

“NO decisions regarding cuts to sports/activities will be made until after public input has been received and considered,” it reads.

Follow this story for the latest updates on the April 12 meeting and other updates on the Park County School District #6 budget cuts. For questions and additional information, visit the Park County School District #6 website.

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