Market Watch: Litigation

A consultant helping Wyoming rework its school finance system has suggested that the state should look at creating one statewide district.

Jim Smith, president of Management Analysis & Planning, Davis, Calif., told lawmakers that in light of a recent Wyoming Supreme Court ruling, a unified statewide district might be the easiest path to abide by the court's judgment.

Smith says the ruling requires the state to oversee so many aspects of school financing that it might be more efficient for it to assume total control. Smith's company will review Wyoming's school finance formula and deliver its final report to the legislature in December.

The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled in February that although “great effort has been made by many and some improvement has been achieved, the constitutional mandate for a fair, complete, and equal education… in Wyoming has not been fully met.”

The court directed the legislature to provide a plan by July 1, 2002, to remedy school-building deficiencies within six years. The total cost of compliance was estimated to be more than $563 million.

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