taking into account labor market competition for college-educated labor, relative compensation levels in surrounding states, and professional opinion about compensation levels necessary to attract teachers of sufficient quality to deliver the "basket." In the case of most other inputs, prices were attached to the model by assuming that actual prices paid were market-determined and therefore reflected actual costs.

These procedures resulted in a basic per-pupil cost of an adequate Wyoming education of about $6,580 (for 1995-96), excluding capital expenditures.11 It was the recommendation of the Wyoming consultant team, as well as the policy of the state, that this Wyoming per-pupil cost be distributed as a "block grant" to Wyoming school districts. By constructing prototypical models, Guthrie et al. determined that an adequate education could be delivered to Wyoming children by utilizing these specific quantities and combinations of resources, and it was the consultants' professional judgment that these quantities and combinations of resources were probably the best way to deliver the basket of educational goods. However, Guthrie et al. and the state also recognized that there may be other equally effective resource strategies that might deliver the basket. Permitting school districts to deploy resources as they see fit not only preserves the possibility that school districts may develop equally, or even more effective delivery systems, but also preserves a Wyoming tradition of local control in education, which is a political value that Wyoming wishes to maximize for its own sake. Therefore, while the prototypical model cost is calculated utilizing, for elementary schools for example, an average class size of 16 and an average teacher compensation cost of $41,433, districts may pay teachers more or less in compensation, offsetting these choices by increasing or decreasing class sizes or by trading salaries for benefits. While the model implies a recommendation that special needs children be integrated in regular classrooms where possible, districts can use the block of resources granted to them to increase regular class sizes in order to fund more individualized instruction for special needs children (except to the extent, of course, that this option is limited by federal law, as in the case of special education).

Adjusting Adequacy For Pupil, School, And Regional Characteristics

Once the Guthrie team had calculated a basic per-pupil block grant dollar amount for Wyoming districts, individual district circumstances required further adjustments in order to achieve true adequacy.

Regional Cost Differences

In the most important respect (professional salaries), the model's cost is based on prices in one metropolitan corridor (Laramie-Cheyenne), chosen because



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement