K-12 education funding appears to remain the sacred cow yet again this legislative session when the State of Wyoming needs to cut its budget, and extracurricular activities in Cody schools seem more important than teachers.

Those are the apparent messages as the Wyoming Legislature wound up this year’s session and Cody schools held a public forum last week to determine which areas in the overall school budget could be cut.

With anticipated budget shortfalls, Cody schools earlier this year eliminated elementary school art teachers and three instructional facilitators along with combining music teachers at several schools.

Yet the activities budget at Cody Schools, which received an additional $209,000 from the school’s general fund for this year, is still up in the air as they have yet to make a final decision.

The public input at last week’s forum from the majority of the 33 speakers seemed to be “cut something, anything other than the activity I’m involved in.”

Extracurricular activities are an essential part of education and the ability to offer every activity sanctioned by the Wyoming High School Activities Association is a luxury.

Sports and activities can provide young people a multitude of benefits, including good sportsmanship, teamwork and the hardest life lesson: sometimes you lose. There are essential lessons for a healthy life. But academic instruction cannot be overlooked.

Perhaps the school district was a little bloated in some of the academic positions and the staff could be made more efficient.

We firmly believe extracurricular activities are an integral building block of a well-rounded education. But we cannot go so far as to say extracurricular activities are the most important component of an education.

Well-balanced, well-instructed curricula will always be top priority at the best educational institutions.

John Malmberg

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