Wyoming 2016 State Policy Detail
WIDE ROOM FOR LEGISLATIVE BOOST TO STATIC SECTOR
Wyoming has established a charter school sector despite a particularly weak law. Current policy essentially serves as a “shell” law—a placeholder, ready for additions and improvements to ensure stable, quality, and legally autonomous schools as well as a viable alternative authorizer.
NOTEWORTHY IN 2016
SCORE INCREASE: +2
- Who Authorizes (+2). Wyoming was incorrectly scored in 2015. The state allows LEA decisions to be appealed to the State Board of Education, but the LEA remains the authorizer. As such, it should have received a score of 2 in 2015.
- Create legally autonomous schools. Policy should ensure that schools have a legally autonomous governing board and autonomy in crucial areas of school operations.
- Empower school districts and a statewide alternative authorizer to directly approve charter schools. If an alternative authorizer is not viable, the state should, at a minimum, empower the State Board of Education to serve as an authorizer on appeal.
- Endorse professional standards for charter school authorizing.
- Create a strong renewal standard that directly links school academic performance to renewal.
- Require performance frameworks for all charter schools.
 Wyoming law is silent on the legal autonomy of charter school governing boards. State rules operate under the assumption that charter schools have a separate not-for-profit governing board, but the law does not specify that the school must have one. This lack of clarity on proper governing structure impedes quality charter growth in Wyoming.