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Gordon vetoes charter school, public education bill

Gov. Mark Gordon addresses attendees before he signs legislation into Wyoming State law on Wednesday, March 6 in the Governor's Ceremonial Conference Room at the Wyoming Capitol Building. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Gov. Mark Gordon vetoed a bill addressing charter schools Thursday, saying it’s a “bailing wire fix” that could threaten the sustainability of charter schools in the years to come. The governor is an ardent supporter of school choice and states the legislation does not treat all charter schools equally.

Senate File 61 – Education-charter school amendments authorizes charter schools as “local education agencies” to apply for, receive and administer federal and state grants. However, the bill repeals the ability of the state’s Charter Authorizing Board to serve this function before that board has even had an opportunity to demonstrate its effectiveness, the governor said. In addition, the proposed legislation could impose significant costs and administrative burdens unequally across charter schools, potentially posing constitutional issues.  

“Without a thorough examination of the consequences and impacts on our state, students, parents, and taxpayers, I fear we may risk exacerbating existing impediments to charter growth and innovation while simultaneously raising the overall cost of education to unsustainable levels over the long term,” Gordon wrote in his veto letter. “Such a scenario is neither fiscally responsible nor supportive of students and parents who choose charter schools for their education.”

District-authorized charters could continue to receive LEA services from their authorizer, but state-authorized charter schools would be expected to provide these services without any new resources provided. The governor concluded by urging the Wyoming Legislature to undertake a comprehensive review of Wyoming’s charter school statutes as an interim topic. This would ensure that Wyoming’s education policies are fair, equitable, transparent and accountable, he wrote.

Gordon’s veto letter may be found here.

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