It’s been a long year for State Superintendent Cindy Hill. After legislators determined that she was undermining some of their education reform efforts, they voted to take away her ability to run the state department of education and assigned her to less essential tasks.
Later a report suggested mistreatment of employees, possible misuse of the state aircraft, and misuse of Department of Education money. That last piece is being investigated by a legislative committee who is trying to determine if impeachment charges should be brought against Hill.
The Wyoming legislature’s management council voted unanimously today/Tuesday to provide 100-thousand dollars to a special committee investigating State Superintendent Cindy Hill.
Hill is accused of mismanaging federal funds, abusing state resources, and creating a hostile work environment. Hill has denied the allegations.
Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau says they need extra help to complete what he says is a complicated investigation. Normally the Legislative Service Office helps lawmakers with this work, but he says the L-S-O is limited by law in what they can do.
State Superintendent Cindy Hill says she has grave concerns about a legislative committee that is investigating possible wrongdoing within her administration. The Committee is following up on a report that suggested possible misuse of funds and mistreatment of employees. Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau says they want to determine if action needs to be taken against Hill or if the issue needs to be dropped. Hill told the committee that she did nothing wrong and suggested that there may be reasons for the accusations.
Unless you are new to the state or have lived under a rock, you are aware that the state legislature passed a law that changed the powers of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and placed a Director in charge of Education. Now lawmakers are investing a report that suggests possible wrong doing by Superintendent Cindy Hill…charges she denies. It might lead people to worry about education in the state. But lawmakers want you to know that they continue to try and make change for the better. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has the story…
The Joint Education Committee wrapped up two days of meetings talking about everything from improving Native American education to better uses of technology in the classroom.
Glenrock Senator Jim Anderson says lawmakers have had some distractions in recent months with the controversy surrounding Superintendent Cindy Hill, but he says they are moving forward with some good ideas.
“If we are not doing it, at least we are starting to lay some framework and some discussion and open people’s minds to the idea of new options and new alternatives.”
The Wyoming Attorney General's Office is urging the state Supreme Court to rule against Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill's legal challenge to the recent state law that stripped her office of many of its powers.
The AG's Office this week filed a lengthy brief with the court laying out the history of the state's education system.
The AG argues that the state Legislature originally invested the superintendent's job with many of its powers. It says the Legislature had authority to remove those same powers when it passed the law early this year.
Today the Wyoming Board of Education begins the process of trying to find a Director of Education. Board Chairman Ron Micheli said the board plans to interview a group of candidates this weekend and narrow the list to three by Saturday and submit that list to the governor for his consideration.
The Director will be in charge of running the State Department of Education after Superintendent Cindy Hill’s duties were changed by the state legislature. Micheli said that he’s looking for someone who will be a good fit for Wyoming.
State Superintendent Cindy Hill will take her case to the Wyoming Supreme Court.
Wednesday District Court Judge Thomas Campbell refused to issue a preliminary injunction and restore her powers and duties immediately. But he did send her case immediately to the Wyoming Supreme Court for further action.
The Legislature and Gov. Matt Mead approved a law this winter taking away many of the superintendent's powers and duties. It included replacing the superintendent as administrative head of the state Education Department with a director appointed by the governor.
Senate File 104 – better known as the Hill Bill - passed in the legislative session that just ended. But it might be challenged in the next election if organizers of a new referendum can get enough signatures to put it on the ballot.
The bill removed some powers from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill. It also created a State Education Director that will be appointed by the governor. The Director will oversee the State Department of Education.
The Wyoming legislative session wrapped up Wednesday. Lawmakers leave with mixed emotions about the session. Most agree that the one thing that they will remember about the session is the vote to strip State Superintendent Cindy Hill of many of her duties. Senator Cale Case says that set the tone for the first part of the session.
“It’s been a very different session I think. That whole Senate File 104 that Cindy Hill…Department of Education bill…that was a different way to start. And I’m not sure I’ve recovered from that I think,” says Case.
Governor Matt Mead says he has met with employees at the State Department of Education and members of the State Board of Education to make sure there will be a smooth transition as they hire a Wyoming Education Director.
The Legislature stripped many of State Superintendent Cindy Hill’s powers, and she has been relocated to an office a block away from the Department of Education.
Mead said the State Board of Education will submit three names for the governor to consider for Director. He adds that it will be an open search.
The Wyoming House of Representatives has given initial approval to a bill that would remove key powers from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and give them to an appointed Education Director.
The House debated the bill for almost two hours. Many representatives expressed concern that the legislature was taking power away from the voters and others were concerned about how quickly the legislature is moving to pass the bill. Lyman Republican Allen Jaggi says he’s heard from constituents who share those concerns.
The House Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to endorse a bill that would remove duties from the State Superintendent and transfer them to an appointed Director. Lawmakers say that Superintendent Hill has not met deadlines and has delayed execution of duties such as creating education accountability programs.
The Wyoming legislature wraps up its second week today. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck is covering the session and joins us now to talk about lawmakers' attempts to restructure how the state's schools are governed.
The Co-Chairmen of the legislature's Joint Education Committee are sponsoring legislation to create an appointed, Cabinet-level position to administer the Department of Education. The bill would allow the Governor to appoint a director for the Education Department. It would not eliminate the superintendent position, but modify the position’s responsibilities and lessen its power. The legislature comes after tense discussions in the Capitol about Superintendent Cindy Hill’s effectiveness in her position.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill says she is looking forward to addressing a legislative committee next week following a report that was critical of her department.
The Legislative Service Office report said that errors and communication problems led to delays in the Department of Education’s ability to provide necessary federal information and required state accountability data. Hill says the report is inaccurate.
The state Education Department has granted 20 school districts waivers from meeting a state law requiring a 16-to-1 student-teacher ratio in kindergarten through third grades. The waivers are good for the 2012-13 school year. State schools superintendent Cindy Hill says the 16-to-1 ratio is challenging for some districts but she's confident all will eventually reach the mandate that was set by the 2011 Legislature as part its education reform initiative. State law allows districts to seek a waiver from the Education
The Wyoming legislature will consider asking voters if the State Superintendent should be an appointed position instead of an elected one.
Lawmakers will consider a Joint Resolution that would place the proposed constitutional change on the ballot. If approved it would turn the State Superintendent into an appointed position by 2015.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Kermit Brown says there is a benefit to having an expert run the office instead of a politician, especially with the importance lawmakers have placed on the Department of Education.