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EDlection2018: Wyoming Elects Republican Gordon as Governor as State Focuses on Education Funding

By Mark Keierleber | November 6, 2018

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EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

Wyoming residents chose on Tuesday to maintain Republican control of the governor’s mansion, with voters overwhelmingly supporting Treasurer Mark Gordon to replace term-limited Gov. Matt Mead, the Associated Press reports.

Gordon scored 68 percent of the vote with 76 percent of precincts reporting.

Gordon will take office during a tense moment for America’s least populous state. Wyoming faces a steep budget shortfall as its energy-dependent economy lags — a reality that’s trickled down to K-12 classrooms. Wyoming’s education system relies heavily on taxes on oil and coal production, and as those industries struggle, schools have faced budget cuts. With Gordon as governor, more education cuts may well be on the way.

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During her campaign, Democratic Rep. Mary Throne said a recalibrated tax scheme — or even new tax sources — may be necessary to adequately fund Wyoming schools. Given the state’s heavy reliance on the energy industry, Throne maintained high-quality schools are crucial to creating a diversified economy.

But Gordon, who campaigned heavily on the need to reduce government spending, challenged that notion. Rather than backing a push to raise education spending, Gordon said during the campaign that school districts should be given more say over budget decisions and that “we must ensure that the cost of administration does not impair the delivery of educational content.”

EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

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