The Consortium for School Networking announced March 22 that it had expanded its reach to 31 states with a new chapter in Wyoming. With the start of the Wyoming Technology Education Leaders (WyTEL) chapter, CoSN will be able to support school district technology leaders across the state. This will aid state educators in their efforts to address challenges such as digital equity and professional development.
The WyTEL leadership team includes eight technology directors, CTOs and other ed tech leaders from across the state of Wyoming. Joshua Jerome, technology director at Carbon County School District One, will serve as the WyTEL president. He has more than 20 years of experience as an IT professional.
Wyoming has 48 school districts educating more than 91,000 students. With the challenges of the pandemic, the state has seen a large drop in enrollment. It dipped below 42,000 students this year for the first time since 2012.
The announcement of the new CoSN chapter comes in the wake of news about Wyoming’s $300 million annual structural deficit for K–12 education funding. This shortfall is the result of declining coal and natural gas production and prices, which have reduced property tax collections. Wyoming funds its schools through property taxes, as do most states. Unlike most states, however, in Wyoming, the mining industry is responsible for 50 percent of school districts’ property tax revenues, rewarding state residents with some of the lowest property taxes in the country. Support from the state’s new CoSN chapter may be the first step in moving forward with educational technology advancements despite the large deficit.
The new state chapter has seven primary objectives for supporting students and learning, including:
- providing reliable and fast internet and network infrastructure
- providing ongoing professional development for educational technology leaders
- ensuring that educational technology is fully integrated into the educational process