Donn Bruns, Lifestyle Photography

A member of the legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee [JAC] says Wyoming is facing some big challenges in funding education over the next few years.

Rep. Tim Stubson (R-Natrona County) says as things currently stand the state is $500 million short of what it will need to pay for K-12 operating costs in the 2019-2020 biennium.

Stubson says that figure doesn't factor in the costs of building new schools, which is another major challenge. Stubson says over the last biennium the state spent over $400 million on capital construction projects. By comparison he says the number this year was $18 million "because that's all we have."

He adds "the coal bid bonus monies that we have used to finance billions of dollars worth of construction around the state are gone."

Stubson says the issue of how to pay for education in the state over the next few years "is an issue we have not yet solved" and says it the biggest single problem facing state lawmakers at this point.

The Wyoming Supreme Court has said funding  education is the state's number one obligation under the Wyoming  constitution.