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Lawsuit Accusing Wyoming of Unconstitutional Underfunding of Schools Set for Trial

Wyoming Claims Schools Try To Force Social Programs In Funding (Credits: Cowboy State Daily)

Litigation over Wyoming’s public education funding is progressing towards a full trial after a district court judge dismissed the state’s request to decide part of the case immediately.

The lawsuit, initiated by the Wyoming Education Association (WEA) in 2022, alleges that the state has violated its constitution by inadequately funding public schools. Eight school districts have intervened in the lawsuit to challenge the state’s position.

Wyoming Education Association sues state over school funding (Credits: Wyoming Tribune Eagle)

Judge Peter Froelicher’s decision on Wednesday represents a setback for the state’s efforts to resolve the case without a full trial. Previously, in December 2022, the court denied the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Now, the state’s lawyers sought to have the judge rule in their favor on some of WEA’s claims before proceeding to trial. However, the judge rejected this request in his recent ruling, also dismissing a motion for partial summary judgment filed by the eight school districts.

WEA President Grady Hutcherson emphasized the urgency of the matter, citing the exodus of talented education professionals from Wyoming due to better opportunities elsewhere.

Wyoming state education funding trial set for June of 2024 (Credits: Cowboy State Daily)

WEA attributes this trend to low wages and unfair workloads, resulting in record turnovers within Wyoming school districts.

While representing the state’s teachers, WEA clarified that it is not a formal union. As the case moves forward, stakeholders await the full trial, which will delve into the merits of the allegations regarding public education funding in Wyoming.

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