Wyoming Association of Municipalities President Brian Dickson and I, as well as leadership from the Wyoming Association of County Commissioners, met with Governor Mead last week to discuss the budget. The Governor assured us he is still very committed to towns and counties and is requesting $175 million for us. The commissioners and municipalities requested he keep the 60% for Operating and 40% for Infrastructure split in place. Those percentages are not ideal but Sundance can live with them.
This week, the Joint Appropriations Committee decided to take $25 million from the $175 million to back-fill the loss of PILT money from the Federal Government. PILT is money counties receive in lieu of property tax on federal land within their boundaries. The $20 million dollar reduction means Sundance will see revenues at 2010 levels. The poorest of counties will also take a hit on revenues from the state because the mineral rich counties have seen their taxable valuations increase significantly and the rest of us have seen modest growth. Because the revenue formula doesn’t favor counties that have seen flat to modest increases in taxable valuation, they will see a decrease in revenue while places like Converse County will see a huge jump in revenue. Converse County is seeing a boom in oil and gas and is joining Sublette and Campbell Counties as the wealthiest in the state. I believe to combat this inequity, the standard for hardship status needs to be relaxed and the minimum payment for hardship must be increased.
The last thing I will touch on is the school land swap. We have an opportunity to group the schools, track, and football field in one location. I think this is much safer and more cost effective in the long run because the kids will not (have) to travel off the school campus for sports. Moving the fairground and rodeo arena to a new location will give the fair and rodeo complex the chance to be updated. I am unsure where the money will come from but I think it will be a great improvement to our community. We live in a wealthy state and I believe the money will become available.
Paul Brooks Mayor
To the citizens of Crook County and especially those with children and grandchildren in school-
The week of January 26 – February 1 is National School Choice Week. As it is not widely celebrated in Wyoming I thought I would take this opportunity to inform those unknowing that the controversy surrounding the situation concerning the building of a new school is overshadowing the leviathan already lurking in our schools! It’s called CCSSI, Common Core State Standards Initiative aka Common Core.
CCSSI is an effort that attempts to impose on states a set of National K-12 standards. A one size fits all standard curriculum! The society that seeks to equalize the minds of all doesn’t cherish real learning. It has been referred to as education without representation! I refer to it as the Unaffordable Care Act of the Educational System. We will have to implement it to see what’s in it!
Political affiliations aside, both parties and concerned citizens alike are sounding the alarm all over the U.S. But, the apathy and malaise is deafening in Crook County. They are plowing full steam ahead in our school system!! Currently there are cameras being installed in our children’s schools, under the guise of security, and no one seems concerned! How can courage and principals be taught if no one stands?
In August, I attended a Common Core Conference held in Rapid City. The keynote speaker was Jane Robbins, an attorney and senior fellow with the American Principles Project in Washington, D.C. She outlined the key players and financiers of the Common Core Initiative. This alone should give us pause to examine what is behind this. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Microsoft are hugely invested in the grants associated with CCSSI. Everyone always touts the grant money we are receiving without asking where the money is coming from or what it is tied to. The funds for the No Child Left Behind program were exchanged for Race to the Top money instead thus leading to the implementation of the Common Core Standards. A bit of an over simplification but, this is the ruse that took us down this road! If the McDonalds Corporation was funding our school lunch program with grant money wouldn’t that be cause for pause?
There are all kinds of resources out there to inform us about what your children are in for with the CCSSI. It is an experimental initiative disguised as standards using your children as guinea pigs in the classrooms, not to mention the constraints it will put on teachers. Eventually teachers will be required to follow the script provided to them and will not be allowed to deviate from it. This is the real reason for the cameras!! Is this what you want for your children’s education?
The devilish details of the collaboration and standards this entails are outlined, sort of, in an MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) called PARCC. PARCC is the acronym for Partners for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. This is where the data mining and testing requirements attached to the standards are vaguely outlined.
If anyone is buying the mistruth being perpetrated that this is not federally run and that we will retain local control of our curriculum and freedom just look up parcconline.org and look under Governance. It’s been said that he who controls the Information to the Decision Maker controls the Decision Maker. This seems to be the underlying problem plaguing the school board, the citizenry of Crook County and the State of Wyoming. Where does the authority for this come from? There are great websites and resources to help educate the public about this monstrosity. Some websites I would recommend taking some time to look at are: truthinamericaneducation.com, wyomingcitizensopposingcommoncore.com and a blog written by a mom educator in New York who writes about how Common Core is changing her child and affecting their lives at mrsmomblog.com.
I am pleading with you fellow citizens take some time out of your busy schedules and educate yourselves-it’s a matter of Liberty and Freedom for the next generation! The pathway to prosperity begins with education.