State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow says she is determined to continue improving education in the state despite the budget challenges posed by declining state revenues.

Balow admits the downturn in the state economy caused by low energy prices and the resulting drop in revenues make this a "tough time for education" in Wyoming.

But she notes Governor Matt Mead and some legislators have taken the position that the state "can't cut our way out of this" in regard to the budget challenges faced by the state. But even so she says the budget situation "certainly is a challenge."

The governor has said state lawmakers need to make K-12 education funding a priority in the upcoming 2017 session, saying "I just can't stress enough that we have a real crisis on our hands" in terms of funding state schools.

Balow says she thinks her job includes acknowledging the budget challenges but not allowing them to interfere with efforts to improve education. She says part of the funding challenge might be met by finding efficiencies in local schools to reduce costs, but she concedes ''that still may not be enough."

She says her department meanwhile will do everything possible to help schools across the state deal with the funding challenges.