Laramie, Wy – The state will not use a new economic tool
with a funny-sounding name to calculate teacher salaries.
Members of the Joint Education Committee worried that the hedonic index would stir up more school-finance litigation, or that it would provide less funding for their school districts.
The hedonic index sought to quantify the things that make certain communities nice places to live, such as scenery and recreation opportunities. Salaries would be higher in desirable communities, and lower in communities that scored lower on the index.
Not surprisingly, Teton County scored off the chart. That might have meant less money for teacher salaries, even though the cost of living in Teton County is the highest in Wyoming.
Teton County responded with a plan that would continue to use the Wyoming Cost of Living Index. In addition, school districts where the cost of living is below average would still be assured of getting a minimum amount of funding for teacher salaries.
The committee voted seven-to-four to endorse that approach.