School choice in Wyoming

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School choice refers to the educational alternatives available to parents who do not wish to send their children to the local district public schools to which they are assigned. Public school choice options include open enrollment policies, magnet schools and charter schools. Other options include traditional school vouchers, scholarship tax credits, personal tax credits and deductions and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), which allow parents to receive public funds directly for educational expenses.[1][2]

Wyoming ranks last in the U.S. in private school attendance. Other school choice options for students in the state include charter schools, homeschooling, online learning and voluntary public school open enrollment policies.

Educational choice options

See also: Number of schools by school type in the U.S.

Charter schools

See also: Charter schools in Wyoming

During the 2007-2008 school year, the state had a total of three public charter schools.[3] By the 2012-2013 school year, the total number of charter schools in the state had grown to four.[4]

Charter school authorizers are, according to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), the organizations "designated to approve, monitor, renew, and, if necessary, close charter schools." As of June 2014, the organizations in the following table were listed by NACSA as charter school authorizers in Wyoming:[5]

Wyoming charter school authorizers
Organization Authorizer type Number of schools overseen
Albany County School District 1 Local education agency 2
Fremont County School District 38 Local education agency 1
Note: If the total number of charter schools accounted for in this table differs from the total number listed elsewhere on this page, the discrepancy owes to differing calculation methods and data sources.
Source: National Association of Charter School Authorizers, "Wyoming Charter Authorizers," accessed June 18, 2014

Magnet schools

See also: Number of schools by school type in the U.S.

Magnet schools, sometimes called theme-based schools, are public schools of choice that use a specialized subject area or innovative learning approach to attract students from more diverse backgrounds. In fact, magnet schools began as a way to desegregate public schools through choice rather than force. Magnet schools can reach beyond the barriers of school districts, but they are still managed and funded publicly by local districts, even though they are centered around specialized themes and subjects. According to federal and state sources, Wyoming had no magnet schools as of December 2014. It is unclear if the state allows magnet schools but simply does not have any, or if the state's laws do not allow for the designation of such schools.[6][7]


An estimated 2,585 students were home-schooled in Wyoming during the 2012-2013 school year, which represented approximately 2.67 percent of all students in the state.[8]

In Wyoming, home-based educational programs cannot constitute more than one family unit, and home-based educational instruction must be provided by the child's parent, legal guardian or a person designated by the child's parent or legal guardian.[9]

Online learning

In Wyoming, most online learning programs are administered through the Wyoming Switchboard Network (WSN), which is a collection of distance education providers for kindergarten through 12th grade students. A total of 1,942 students participated in either full-time or part-time online learning in the 2012-2013 school year, which was a 30 percent increase from the previous school year.[10]

Private Schools

In the 2011-2012 school year 2,390 students, or 2.66 percent of school age children, were enrolled in 35 private schools. Wyoming ranks last in the U.S. in private school attendance.[11]

Public school open enrollment

Wyoming has a voluntary intra-district open enrollment policy and a voluntary inter-district open enrollment policy. This means that students may transfer to different schools within their school district and that they may also apply to attend schools outside of their own school district.[12]

Education ballot measures

See also: School choice on the ballot and List of Wyoming ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked no statewide ballot measures relating to school choice in Wyoming.

Recent news

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See also

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