Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says the state "cannot wait to act" in dealing with a potential school funding shortfall of $1.5 billion over the next six years.

The governor says a task force needs to get public input on education funding so that lawmakers can be prepared to fully address education funding by next year.

The governor, in his annual "State of the State" address to Wyoming lawmakers, Wednesday, again said education funding "is a fiscal crisis" and "a big problem that requires very big, very difficult choices." Wyoming has been dealing with serious revenue issues recently because of a downturn in the state economy caused by low energy prices.

The governor told lawmakers that at the very least he hopes lawmakers will be able to act on a plan dealing with both spending cuts and funding issues by the start of the next legislative session.

Governor Mead says in the meantime a task force "with the full participation of Wyoming stakeholders" needs to have a "broad-based" discussion on education and school funding in Wyoming. The governor told lawmakers that while it is important to plan for spending reductions, the broader discussion needs to also be held.

Governor Mead did not, however, specifically call for a special session of the legislature to deal with school funding.