Seeking Justice for Students and Educators: Latest Developments in WEA’s School Finance Lawsuit

On August 18, 2022 the Wyoming Education Association filed suit against the State of Wyoming, asserting that the state has violated the Wyoming Constitution by failing to fund public schools adequately. WEA’s complaint contends that by failing to grant periodic external cost adjustments (ECAs) and underfunding the state’s education model—even disregarding the state’s own commissioned experts’ recommendations for funding—the Legislature is violating the Wyoming Constitution and failing to fulfill its legal responsibility to fund a high quality, equitable, cost-based public education system.

Eight intervening school districts have joined suit with WEA against the State. It’s set for a bench trial in June of 2024. Below is a timeline of major milestones in the case so far.

Lawsuit Timeline (1200 x 400 px)

December 2022 – State files motion to dismiss; citing WEA’s lack of standing to bring suit. Motion denied. 

July 2023 – State asks District Court to commit to level of scrutiny to be used in case. Strict scrutiny applied. 

September 2023 – Supreme Court upholds District Court’s decision that strict scrutiny shall be applied. State’s petition to Supreme Court denied. 

June 2024 – Case set for bench trial in District Court. 

“Already we have seen multiple attempts by the State to prevent or prolong our opportunity to explore the merits of our case in Court,” said WEA President Grady Hutcherson in a statement made after the Supreme Court denied the State’s petition to commit to a lesser standard of scrutiny to be applied in the case, “we are grateful that the Supreme Court has upheld the decision made by the District Court—a decision which we feel is a just, appropriate ruling regarding the burden of proof to be applied in our case. The State has previously asked the Court to dismiss our case, alleging we lack standing to bring it, and has twice now asked the Court to commit to a lesser standard of scrutiny in this proceeding, all to no avail. We are eager to explore the merits of our case in court. Our students and educators should not be waiting in legal limbo. The gap between school funding and students’ real needs is mounting every day; they need adequate resources for quality education and they need it now.” 

View, download, and print a shareable flyer summarizing WEA’s motivation for filing suit and what we stand to gain for students if the Court orders the State to fully fund a cost-based education. 

Click Here to View the Flyer