WSBA Delegate Assembly Approved Resolutions 2018

Resolutions adopted by the 2018 Delegate Assembly will become the guiding principles for the 2019 Legislative session and will be referred to the Board of Directors of the Wyoming School Boards Association as possible Legislative Goals for the 2020 Legislative Session. The Wyoming School Boards Association Board of Directors will determine the Legislative Goals for the 2020 Legislative session at their July 2019 meeting.

2020.1 Definition of Habitual Truant

BE IT RESOLVED that the Wyoming School Board Association supports a change to state statute 21-4-101 that identifies a “habitual truant” student as a, “student whose attendance is adversely affecting their academic performance and their academic preparation.”

Rationale: School attendance is vital to a student’s academic success.  The current definition of a habitual truant student is based on five (5) or more unexcused absences in any one (1) school year (W.S. 21-4-101).  Even excused absences result in a student missing school.  This new definition of a habitual truant student focuses on the needs and situation of individual students and will allow local school boards the legal authority to provide early intervention in a timely fashion.

Submitted by
Uinta County School District #1

Delegate Assembly Action:
Affirm

2020.2 Use of “Policy” Rather than “Rules” when Authorizing Firearms

BE IT RESOLVED that the Wyoming School Board Association supports a change to state statute 21-3-132 that identifies a local educational agency’s authority to define a policy to allow district employees to possess firearms on school district property as a policy concerning the internal management of the district and one which does not impact private rights or procedures available to the public.

Rationale: Safety and security of students and staff of Wyoming schools are a priority for our state. Wyoming Statute 21-3-132 currently authorizes Wyoming school districts to “adopt rules and regulations … to allow the possession of firearms by employees … on or in any property or facility owned or leased by the school district.”  Uinta #1 recently lost a case in Wyoming District Court that challenged the process used by the district in adopting such a policy.  The Court ruled that the District failed to use the rule-making process required by the Wyoming Administrative Procedures Act (WAPA).  The District must now either appeal the decision of the Court or redo the process in accordance with the WAPA.  The question of “rulemaking authority” and the adoption of “rules and regulations” in the statute potentially confuses the development and implementation of W.S. 21-3-132 by local school districts.  Districts should be able to use their normal policy-making process rather than be required to adhere to the strict requirements of the WAPA.

The amended language focuses on the exception within the Wyoming Administrative Procedures Act for those policies that relate to the internal management of the agency and do not affect private rights or procedures available to the public.  Such statements do not amount to “rules” under the Act and thus are not subject to the strict requirements of the Act.  The intent is to afford suitable due process through the ordinary policy making process of the school district.

Submitted by
Uinta County School District #1

Delegate Assembly Action:
Affirm (Amended)

2020.3 Compulsory Attendance

BE IT RESOLVED that the Wyoming School Board Association supports a change to state statute 21-4-102 adding the words “or during their first grade year” to the statue to read: “(a) Every parent, guardian or other person having control or charge of any child who is a resident of this state and whose seventh birthday falls on or before September 15, or during their first grade year, of any year and who has not yet attained his sixteenth birthday …”

Rationale:  School attendance is vital to a student’s academic success.  Wyoming Statute 21-4-302 allows enrollment in the first grade in the year in which his sixth birthday falls on or before September 15.  The current requirement for compulsory attendance is age seven (7).  Many first-grade students turn seven (7) after September 15 of their first-grade year.  Compulsory attendance statutes for first grade students who turn seven after September 15 have no effect and cannot be enforced.  This addition to the compulsory attendance statute will allow local school boards the legal authority to provide early intervention in a timely fashion for poor attendance patterns developing during the first-grade year, including but not limited to education neglect, for parents or guardians that are not sending their student to school.

Submitted by
Uinta County School District #1

Delegate Assembly Action:
Affirm

2020.5 Dropout Age

BE IT RESOLVED that the Wyoming School Boards Association supports lowering the dropout rate and improving the graduation rate for students in Wyoming. Therefore, the Wyoming School Boards Association supports raising the public school mandatory attendance age to 18 or graduation, whichever comes first. It is recommended that homeschooled students be excluded.

Rationale: Reducing the dropout rate is the rationale behind the proposal to increase the compulsory attendance age to 18.

Submitted by
Sheridan County School District #2

Delegate Assembly Action:
Affirm

2020.6 Collection of Ad Valorem Taxes

BE IT RESOLVED that the Wyoming School Boards Association encourages the legislature to develop a solution for the County’s collection of ad valorem taxes to minimize the amount of uncollected taxes in the future.  The solution must involve the collaborative effort of the legislature, county government, and industry partners. 

Rationale:

Wyoming counties have been unable to collect more than $55 million in unpaid taxes over the past ten years.  A significant portion of those resources would be utilized to support K-12 education in Wyoming.  Minerals are taxed in Wyoming after production with the Fair Market Value determined in February of the year following production.  Tax payments of 50% are due in November of the year following production and a final payment of 50% is due in May of the second year following production.  The time lag in tax collection contributes to the issue of unpaid taxes.  It is recognized that mineral companies also pay a monthly severance tax that must be considered in potential solutions to adjust the timeline for ad valorem tax collection.

Submitted by
Campbell County School District #1

Delegate Assembly Action:
Affirm

2020.7 Liability for Failing to Stop for a School Bus

BE IT RESOLVED that the Wyoming School Boards Association support legislation and efforts to amend Wyoming State Statute 31-5-507:

ORIGINAL:  31-5-507. Meeting or passing stopped school bus; markings and visual signals.

(a)The driver of a vehicle upon meeting or overtaking from either direction any stopped school bus shall stop before reaching the school bus when there is in operation on the school bus the flashing red lights as specified in W.S. 31-5-929 and the driver shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or the flashing red lights are no longer actuated.

AMENDED:   The amended action would be the following addition to the statute as “subsection (b)” to be read as follows:

(b)If any vehicle is witnessed by a police officer, school bus operator, or school crossing guard in violation of subsection (a) of this section and the identity of the operator is not otherwise apparent, it shall be rebuttable presumption that the person in whose name such vehicle is registered committed such violation of subsection (a) of this section.

 Rationale:  LCSD1 had a total of Stop-Arm violations for the following years: 1,371 in 2015-2016; 716 in 2016-2017; 1,858 in 2017-18; and 191 by September 17, 2018. 

All of the buses in LCSD1 are equipped with stop arm cameras which illuminate a clear image of the make and color of the car, and the license plates on that car.  But, the cameras do not always give a clear image of the driver of given car which has violated the state law.  But there is a problem.  Local law enforcement contends that unless there is a clear description of the driver, there is little they can do if the registered owner of the vehicle denies to have been driving said vehicle (outside of an admission of guilt).  Per last year’s stated violation, LCSD1 has no idea how many citations were given.  Present state law lacks the necessary “teeth” to enforce the “spirit” behind W.S. 31-5-507.  We are certain that LCSD1 is not the only school district which is experiencing this problem.  This is a matter of student safety.

Submitted by
Laramie County School District #1

Delegate Assembly Action:
Affirm

2020.8 Local Control of K-2 Reading Screening and Intervention Program

BE IT RESOLVED that the Wyoming School Boards Association supports local control in the interpretation of the Duties of the Boards of Trustees as outlined in Wyoming Statutes 21-3-110(a)(xxiii), “Implement and administer the reading screening and intervention program for students in kindergarten through grade three (3) as required by WS 21-3-401”.  This would allow local school districts to determine the appropriate assessment to meet the statutory requirement without a mandated state summative assessment. 

Rationale:

Prior to the implementation of the state mandated WYTOPP K-2 interim assessments, local school districts chose the assessment instrument to meet the statutory requirements for reading assessment and intervention for students in grades Kindergarten through third grade.  Additionally, the Wyoming Early Literacy/Kindergarten through Grade 2 (K-2) Specialty Assessment Committee did not recommend the administration of a summative state assessment in grades Kindergarten through Second grade.  It is their position that standardized summative assessments for K-2 students are not developmentally appropriate.  Moreover, any assessment for this population should only be in place if it meaningfully guides instruction.  This resolution would return to the long-standing practice of local school districts determining the assessment with the WYTOPP being an option but not mandated for students in Kindergarten through Second grade.  Because the WYTOPP K-2 interim assessment does not meet the federally required MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) definition of a universal screener and is not on the WDE provided lists of universal screeners, districts are required to do an additional assessment to meet these requirements.  This results in over-testing for our youngest group of students.

Submitted by
Natrona County School District #1

Delegate Assembly Action:
Affirm

2020.9 Restoration of Special Education Funding

BE IT RESOLVED that the Wyoming School Boards Association would both support and advocate for the restoration of 100% special education reimbursement for all school districts, while allowing for additional state oversight in spending.

Rationale:  The cap in spending has already become a significant problem among districts, particularly those with an increasing enrollment and growing special education population.  As a result of the cap, newly identified students are not receiving the same level of benefit as those with already written IEP’s, as scrutiny is placed on their services in a manner that no students before them have faced, thus creating potential equity issues both within school districts, and between districts.  The cap must be removed, but with increased guidance and oversight from the state to ensure that best practices are considered, used, and adhered to.

Submitted by
Park County School District #1

Delegate Assembly Action:
Affirm

2020.10 Adjustments to the Special Education Cap

BE IT RESOLVED that the Wyoming School Boards Association supports an exemption from the cap on the State of Wyoming’s SPED funding for those students in need of residential treatment (like BOCES facilities).  The exemption would allow for an adjustment in the cap so that funds would follow a student in residential treatment who moves from one district to another district and the student is still in need of BOCES placement.  The cap for the new district will be increased while the cap will be reduced accordingly for the district who no longer has the student placed in residential treatment. Further adjustments to the cap should be made for students newly placed in residential treatment as well as for students who graduate or otherwise leave residential treatment.

Rationale:  New spending caps based on 2017-18 SPED expenditures are in place for school districts and the state. Costs for SPED students in residential treatment facilities (BOCES) at times run over $250,000 for one student for one year. If state funding does not follow these (residentially-placed) students, district caps will be grossly inequitable. If parents of BOCES placed students move from a “home” district, that home district (under the current system) retains funding for that student within their cap. If one student from a home district (who has been placed in BOCES) moves or graduates, the home district may now have an increased leeway of $250,000 in their budget—after the recovery year.

At the same time, a “receiving” district may have their budget set—planning to stay under their 2017-18 spending cap. If the parents/guardians from a home district described above move into this receiving district, the receiving district (who is trying to stay within their cap), receives a Residential Services Agreement in the mail from BOCES requesting $250,000. This receiving district is now going to exceed their cap and be at the mercy of the new state SPED reallocation system—with no guarantee of any specific amount of reimbursement.

Submitted by
Big Horn County School District #4

Delegate Assembly Action:
Affirm

2020.11 Confidentiality of School Safety Discussions

BE IT RESOLVED that the Wyoming School Boards Association supports a change to state statute 16-4-405(a) that identified permissible reasons for an executive session to include discussions of confidential matters of district and school safety and security.

Rationale:  School safety and security are of paramount importance to Wyoming school districts.  The current reasons identified in W.S. 16-4-405(a) for going into executive session do not clearly identify discussions about school safety and security as permissible reasons for an executive session.  There may be ways for a board to have such discussions in executive sessions, but it is desirable to provide a clear authority for the school board to have confidential discussions about matters of school safety and security in an executive session.  Any action taken by the board as a result of the confidential discussion would still be conducted in the public session unless otherwise provided by law.

Submitted by
Teton County School District #1

Delegate Assembly Action:
Affirm

2020.12 Time Allowed Before an Expulsion Hearing is Required

BE IT RESOLVED that the Wyoming School Boards Association supports extending the period of time allowed before an expulsion hearing is required.

Rationale:  At the present time, a 10-day period of time is allowed between when a student is suspended and an expulsion hearing is set.  Many times the burden of the administration to gather information (discovery) in determining if an expulsion is warranted uses up a few days of that absolute 10-day period, leaving little time for the student/parents to prepare of the hearing and allow for due process.

The proposal would change the present statute to be:

W.S. 21-4-305(d)

The board of trustees of any school district or the superintendent, if designated, may suspend a student for a period not exceeding ten (10) school days or may expel a student for a period not to exceed one (1) year, provided the student is afforded an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with the procedures of the Wyoming Administrative Procedures Act [§§ 16-3-115].  If a student requests a hearing, the hearing shall be held within ten (10) business days of the date of notification of recommendation for suspension or expulsion.  The hearing shall not be held beyond ten (10) business days from the date of notification of recommendation for suspension or expulsion unless otherwise agreed to by the student and ordered by the board of trustees or the superintendent, if designated, in its discretion.  The board of trustees or the superintendent, if designated, may require any requested discovery to be expedited and concluded within the hearing time frame set forth herein.  Any suspension of the student may continue through the hearing date.

Submitted by
Fremont County School District #25

Delegate Assembly Action:
Affirm

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