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.
The National Park Service named a new superintendent for Grand Teton National Park this week. David Vela will replace former superintendent Mary Gibson Scott, who retired last year.
Vela is currently an associate director for the Park Service in Washington DC. He has worked at parks and historic sites in Texas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania and directed the Park Service’s southeast region for four years. He says one of his goals is to listen to visitor feedback.
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.
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.
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 State Senate continues working on a bill that would change the way education is governed in Wyoming.
The bill would lead to the appointment of a State Education Director, who would oversee such things as education accountability and school funding.
But Senator Curt Meier amended the legislation, restoring a number of duties to the State Superintendent’s office. Under the amendment, the Superintendent would remain a voting member on the State Board of 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.