Donn Bruns, Lifestyle Photography
Donn Bruns, Lifestyle Photography

Wyoming House Speaker Steve Harshman told House members on Thursday that they saved K-12 education in Wyoming during the 2018 Budget Session of the legislature.

As the 2018 session wound down on Thursday afternoon, Rep. Harshman, a Natrona County Republican, took a few minutes to thank Representatives for their hard work during the session. He especially applauded them for their work on school funding, saying ''There is no doubt that the 60 members in this house singularly saved K-12 education in this state."

He twice added "there is no doubt about it" for emphasis.

Harshman is a teacher and football coach at Casper Natrona High School.

While the final school funding bill approved by lawmakers Thursday cuts over million from school funding, the House spent much of the session battling the Senate school funding plan that originally called for deeper cuts.

Wyoming has been struggling to pay for education and other areas funded by state government in recent years as the state's energy sector has lagged because of low prices for oil, natural gas, and coal.

The House passed the final version of House Bill 140 on Thursday afternoon, with Harshman telling members the bill wasn't perfect but urging them to sign off on the measure. While some House members argued the bill was unfair to smaller school districts, it still prevailed by a 34-22 margin.

It then cleared the Senate on a 23-2 vote with five members absent.

The passage of the education bill as well as a capital construction bill, House Bill 194, cleared the way for the 2018 session to adjourn.

The session had originally been expected to last no later than last Saturday, but an inability to agree on education and capital construction as well as late action on some vetoes by Governor Matt Mead had forced the session to continue into this week.

The legislature took Monday and Tuesday off, with the house convening briefly on Wednesday night and both houses of the legislature convening on Thursday.

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