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K-12 Funding Crisis Looms Large as Wyoming Lawmakers Convene

suesmith2, Thinkstock
suesmith2, Thinkstock

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Plummeting fossil-fuel revenues are forcing the nation’s most Republican legislature to begin talking again about raising taxes — at least as a last-ditch fix.

Lawmakers in Wyoming are especially worried about how to fund public schools. Gov. Matt Mead says that’s also his top priority.

Funding for Wyoming K-12 education faces a $400 million annual shortfall due to falling tax revenues amid weak markets for coal, oil and natural gas. That’s on top of school-construction funds that are running out amid a halt in federal coal leasing.

Lawmakers may convene a special committee to tackle the issue. Mead says he wants to hear their ideas.

Republican state Rep. Hans Hunt of Newcastle says even if President-elect Donald Trump lifted a coal leasing moratorium, school-construction funds wouldn’t resume flowing for years.

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