Cindy Hill

Superintendent Elect Jillian Balow has announced the leadership team who will work with her at the Wyoming Department of Education.

Balow named Cheyenne attorney Dicky Shanor her Chief of Staff. Laramie County School District 1’s Brent Young will serve as Balow’s Chief Policy Officer, Laramie County 2’s Brent Bacon was named Chief Academic Officer, and Dianne Bailey will be promoted from within the Department to the role of Chief Financial Officer.

Yellowstone Gate via Flickr Creative Commons

In a report on the status of Wyoming’s schools released last week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill says that the Legislature has overstepped its authority when it comes to education issues in the state.

Hill says lawmakers have used their responsibility for funding K-12 education as an excuse to manage it.

“The legislature has the power of the purs

  e,” says Hill. “Yes, they’re responsible for funding, but not all of the decisions that are related.”

Candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction agree on several issues, but Democrat Mike Ceballos says his experience as a CEO of QWEST gives him the edge, while Republican Jillian Balow says her background as a classroom teacher makes her the best choice. 

One key difference is over the Common Core education standards which were adopted by Wyoming, but are now under fire. Ceballos says he’s a strong supporter of the standards, but charges that Balow has waffled.

Test results released Monday by the Wyoming Department of Education show huge drops across the board in the percentage of Wyoming students meeting proficiency for end-of-year state assessments.

For example, just 46 percent of third graders scored “proficient or advanced” on the math portion of the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students—or PAWS test. That’s compared to 84 percent in the previous school year.

The Wyoming Board of Education supports making the state’s schools chief an appointed position instead of an elected one, as the Wyoming Constitution currently requires.

After hours of deliberation Thursday, all but one Board member voiced support for making such changes to the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Board was split on whether the Governor or the Board itself should be responsible for appointing a state Superintendent.

Jillian Balow won the Republican nomination for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tuesday night, beating out two other contenders. Now, she’ll face Democrat Mike Ceballos in November’s general election.

Balow is an administrator with the Wyoming Department of Family Services and a former teacher. She received 41 percent of the statewide vote.

Sheryl Lain works as an instructional leader under current Superintendent Cindy Hill.  She got 32 percent of the vote—and former Navy submarine commander Bill Winney got 27 percent.

Mead Wins GOP Primary

Aug 20, 2014

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead overcame strong challenges from Superintendent Cindy Hill and Doctor Taylor Haynes to win the Republican primary. 

Mead won the race despite upsetting the Republican base over his support of legislation that removed State Superintendent Cindy Hill as the supervisor of the Department of Education. Mead says it helped to be able to travel the state and meet with people.

To have a chance in small groups, one and one, and some large groups, take questions and have people hear firsthand from me. I thought that was extremely helpful.”

Due to the summer, turnout may not be high during today’s primary election. That will mean that fewer people will decide some key races. 

One of the hotly contested races involves Governor Matt Mead and challengers Taylor Haynes and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill. University of Wyoming Political Scientist Jim King said the governor needs his supporters to vote.

“The concern I would think in the Mead camp right now would be making sure that people don’t just assume that everything is fine and find something else to do that day.”

The Legislature’s Joint Education Committee has extended the deadline for public input in its study of education governance in Wyoming after receiving almost 1,300 responses.

Under direction from the Legislature’s Management Council, the Committee hired a consulting group in June to survey Wyomingites on what changes should be made to how the state runs its public schools. The firm has interviewed stakeholders and solicited input from the public with an online survey.

There was disagreement during a Republican State Superintendent of Public Instruction debate concerning the administration of Cindy Hill. 

Sheryl Lain, who currently works for Hill, defended the Superintendent and says education has improved and test scores have gone up. But Jillian Balow says the state can’t have four more years of a Hill/Lain administration. 

Sheryl Lain has been a classroom teacher and has spent the last several years training teachers as an instructional leader. Lain is one of three Republicans seeking the party nomination for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Lain has spent the last three years working side by side with current Superintendent Cindy Hill. 

The special legislative committee investigating Wyoming schools Superintendent Cindy Hill has released a final report sharply criticizing her performance. 

The report released Wednesday concludes Hill failed to follow legislative budget directives and intentionally violated the law by requiring permanent Education Department employees to certify she could fire them at any time.

Yellowstone Gate via Flickr Creative Commons

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill is firing back at a legislative report released yesterday alleging she misused public funds and established a culture of fear and intimidation at Wyoming Department of Education.

Hill says the allegations in the report are untrue—and describes the report as a political attack.

"There’s no foundation," said Hill. "There are no facts. This is all hearsay—rewound, republished—for political end. The Governor is hoping to win an election. He’s desperate. And I just smile and say, ‘Really?’"

Associated Press

A special legislative committee investigating Wyoming schools Superintendent Cindy Hill released a scathing report Tuesday concluding she failed to follow legislative funding directives and demanded rank-and-file education department staff to demonstrate personal loyalty to her.

Hill has 15 days to respond before the committee will issue its final report, probably before the end of the month.

The Legislature's Joint Education Committee is moving forward with an effort to study alternative ways to manage the Wyoming Department of Education and will seek input from education stakeholders and the public in that process.

Cindy Hill Superintendent

State Superintendent Cindy Hill says if she is elected governor she will push good government measures to make it easier for the public to get documents, she also plans to address conflicts of interest that she sees in government.   

Hill will run as a Republican.  She said that she got into the race because she said Governor Matt Mead exceeded his authority of governor when he signed the law that removed her as the head of the Department of Education. 

The Wyoming Department of Education is urging citizens to serve on a science standards review committee.  

Previous science standards generated controversy because they addressed subjects like climate change and evolution. The Department is attempting to get more public involvement in developing a new set of standards.  State Superintendent Cindy Hill says that too few citizens were invited to participate last time.           

Cindy Hill Superintendent

A Wyoming legislative committee is in no rush to re-visit the controversy over who should run the State Department of Education.

Joint Education Committee members asked that a bill be drafted to restore all powers to State Superintendent Cindy Hill after the Supreme Court ruled that the legislature erred in taking away her ability to oversee K through 12 education in the state. 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill will soon be returning to lead the Wyoming Department of Education.  Unless you’ve been under rock, you know that the Superintendent had her ability to oversee the department removed by the legislature and the governor last year.

Cindy Hill Superintendent

Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill is rejecting an offer from the state attorney general to narrow the scope of a court case that has to be resolved before she can return to running the state education department.
 
Hill said Tuesday the state constitution is not negotiable.
 
Hill filed suit challenging a state law enacted last year that removed her as head of the state education department. The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled in January the law is unconstitutional.
 

Judge Delays Reinstating Superintendent Hill

Mar 18, 2014

A District Court Judge has asked for more information before he issues an order allowing State Superintendent Cindy Hill to resume her duties as head of the Wyoming Department of Education. 

In January, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that a 2013 law that removed the elected superintendent as department head was unconstitutional.   Laramie County District Court  Judge Thomas Campbell ordered attorneys for the state and Hill to file written analyzes over the next three weeks on whether any parts of the law are constitutional.  Senator Hank Coe of Cody says that’s good news. 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill made a brief appearance at the State Department of Education in an effort to reclaim her job.  The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that a law that removed many of Hill’s duties is unconstitutional.  

Hill walked into the Department Monday morning with two of her staff members.   After those staff members met with Education Director Rich Crandall she left the building.

Cindy Hill Superintendent

Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill says she intends to resume her job leading the state department of education on Monday.

Lawmakers stripped Hill of many of her duties last year and removed her as the head of the department, but the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that the move was unconstitutional. A District Court still must certify the ruling, but Hill told reporters today she’s ready to go back to work.

Cindy Hill Superintendent

The Wyoming House of Representatives will not debate a bill that was supposed to resolve issues arising from a Supreme Court ruling concerning the duties of Superintendent Cindy Hill.

House Floor Leader Kermit Brown decided to let the bill die, saying it was premature and would take too long to debate. 

"The courts are not done with the process, the audit's not done, there are a lot of things not done.  The bill's premature and it was gonna take a lot of time we didn't have, so I just stopped where I stopped."

The legislature is scheduled to wrap up this week. 

After a lengthy debate the State Senate approved a bill setting up a super committee to address a Supreme Court ruling about the duties of State Schools Superintendent Cindy Hill. The legislature passed a law last year that removed Hill’s authority to manage the State Department of Education among other things.  The court ruled that law unconstitutional. Some lawmakers want to see if either the Supreme Court or a District Court will help them fix their law.  But Senator Phil Nicholas says that lawmakers should be prepared to move forward without any additional guidance.

The Wyoming Senate is continuing to work on a bill that will set up a so-called super committee to attempt to fix the law that took powers away from Superintendent Cindy Hill.  The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that in particular Hill should run the Department of Education and not an appointed Director.  

During debate on the bill Senator Curt Meier of LaGrange suggested that the Senate provide specific suggestions to the committee.

The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill allowing the legislature to work on a solution to the Supreme Court ruling that declared the removal of duties from Superintendent Cindy Hill unconstitutional.

The attorney general is appealing the ruling, but the bill would allow a group of legislators to address the constitutional issues raised by the court.  Senator Curt Meier worried that language in the bill giving the legislative committee 90 days to find a solution could draw out the process. But Senate President Tony Ross says the goal is to move quickly.

Cindy Hill Superintendent

The Wyoming Senate Rules Committee has passed a bill that would let a group of legislators work on amending the bill that took away the bulk of powers from the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Supreme Court declared the so-called Hill bill unconstitutional, and now the legislature must fix it.

Cheri Steinmetz with the Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming testified against the bill, saying it's time the legislature stopped wasting money on the issue. But Senator Chris Rothfuss says the bill is necessary to resolve the management of the state's public school system.

Cindy Hill Superintendent

The Wyoming Senate reconsidered and passed a bill that would set up a special committee to review the recent Supreme Court decision about Superintendent Cindy Hill.

The court ruled that removing Hill's responsibility to run the Department of Education was unconstitutional. The committee would be tasked with coming up with legislation to respond to the ruling, possibly in a special legislative session.  

The Senate at first rejected the bill, but reconsidered after lunch and passed it.  Senator Chris Rothfuss says that some education took place during the lunch break.

There is still a long ways to go before the Wyoming legislature is able to react to the Wyoming Supreme Court ruling concerning State Superintendent Cindy Hill. 

The Supreme Court ruled that the law that removed powers from Hill was unconstitutional.  But before the legislature can react to that ruling it needs more information.  

House Majority Floor Leader Kermit Brown says that is likely to come from the District Court who may soon get the case.                  

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