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Wyoming Senate passes bill to take power from state superintendent

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.

“Well, the department’s in a shambles, basically it’s in a terrible mess and things aren’t getting done,” says Coe. “I’m not going to say this totally equivocally, but a lot of people down there really want this bill.”

Hill says test scores have gone up in her time in office and the turnover was necessary in order to improve education.  Senator Curt Meier voted against the bill saying that it has lacked the public input that most bills receive.  He says the legislation is rushed…

“There’s been some folks that have had some disagreements with the current Superintendent.  But some of those were personalities,” Meier says. “Frankly, in many areas, I think she’s done an excellent job.” 

Hill says they are turning the Superintendent’s office into a ceremonial position.  The House plans to quickly vote on its version of the bill. 

Bob Beck retired from Wyoming Public Media after serving as News Director of Wyoming Public Radio for 34 years. During his time as News Director WPR has won over 100 national, regional and state news awards.
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