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.
Governor Matt Mead’s office interviewed current and former employees of the Wyoming Department of Education about Superintendent Cindy Hill’s administration there. The Legislature removed the superintendent as head of the Education Department in January. Mead’s office released a report compiling positive and negative feedback Tuesday.
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.
Governor Matt Mead says the Republican Central Committee acted too hastily when it approved a resolution endorsing a petition drive to repeal the state law that removed powers from State Superintendent Cindy Hill. Several members of the committee also wanted three Republican legislators who were instrumental in passing the law to leave the party. Mead says a court challenge to the law will be heard by the Supreme Court and the Wyoming Attorney General’s office is also concluding an investigation into how the Department was run in Superintendent Hill’s first two years in office.
A lawyer representing State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill is threatening to sue over comments by legislators that appeared in a white paper explaining why lawmakers removed much of Hill’s power. The white paper was crafted to respond to non-legislative members of the Wyoming Republican Party who expressed concern over the law's passage. It was distributed in an email by Big Horn Representative Rosie Berger. Hill’s Attorney Robert DiLorenzo wrote Berger saying that the white paper appeared to be defamatory and he demanded that Berger provide proof for several statements
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.
Governor Matt Mead has signed into law a bill that strips powers from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In turn Superintendent Cindy Hill has filed suit, claiming that the new law is unconstitutional.
Mead also announced that Community College Director Jim Rose will serve as the interim Director of Education.
Mead said he did a lot of soul-searching before agreeing to sign the bill.
“I don’t think anybody would view this as a celebration, I think we would view it as a duty we must go forward on for the kids in Wyoming,” Mead says.
The Wyoming House of Representatives defeated a pair of amendments during the second day of debate on a bill that would remove some duties from the State Superintendent and give them to a governor-appointed Director of Education.
Jackson Republican Keith Gingery asked for $20,000 to be set aside to allow State Superintendent Cindy Hill to fight her loss of power in court. During that discussion Gingery expressed disappointment about the tone of the debate on the issue.
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 Wyoming Senate has given final approval to a bill that takes power away from the state superintendent and creates an appointed director to run the Department of Education.
The Senate voted 20-10 to approve the measure. Senator Hank Coe blames the move on failures by the State Superintendent Cindy Hill to follow through on legislative mandates, a charge Hill denies. Coe says Hill has lacked management skills. He says that’s led to a 40-percent turnover.
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.
But Co-sponsor Representative, Matt Teeters, says this is an old problem.
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.
The State Department of Education says school districts developing anti-bullying plans will do a lot to improve not only behavior, but education in the state. Wyoming’s most recent youth risk behavior survey found that a quarter of high school students and better than 50 percent of middle school students in the state experienced bullying. Superintendent of Schools Cindy Hill said bullying is unacceptable. She said they have found that schools with no tolerance for bullying actually are higher performing schools and Hill says that is not surprising.
Wyoming Superintendent Cindy Hill asked the University of Wyoming’s Board of Trustees to reconsider raising its admission standards so as not to exclude Wyoming high school students who struggle with their test scores.
Under the new guidelines, in order to be assured admission admitted, students would need three-point-oh G-P-As and an A-C-T score of 21. They would also have to take additional foreign language classes in high school. Students who don’t meet certain standards would be admitted, on condition of participating in a ‘Synergy Program’ to bring them up to speed.