HILL

Education head blasts Wyoming lawmakers over hearing rules

2013-12-31T19:00:00Z 2014-01-01T12:30:04Z Education head blasts Wyoming lawmakers over hearing rulesBy AERIN CURTIS Wyoming Tribune Eagle Casper Star-Tribune Online
December 31, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

CHEYENNE — A Wyoming legislative committee plans a three-day hearing next week on Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill’s administration of the state education department.

The Legislature’s Select Investigative Committee is eyeing the work Hill did before the Legislature removed the elected official in early 2013 from overseeing the agency. Hill has denied any wrongdoing.

Hill has remained in office after losing authority over the agency because of a new law enacted last winter by the Republican-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Matt Mead. An administrator appointed by the governor now oversees the department.

Hill, also a Republican, is challenging the constitutionality of the law and a decision is pending from the Wyoming Supreme Court on her lawsuit to overturn it.

Advocates of the law say it was necessary because Hill was delaying and hindering education reform efforts and doing a poor job of running the department.

House Speaker Tom Lubnau, R-Gillette, said the committee will meet from Monday through Wednesday in Cheyenne.

It’s seeking information about the handling of federal funds and personnel issues during Hill’s tenure.

“We just want to find out what happened and follow the legislative process for that,” Lubnau said. “This isn’t adversarial. We’re just asking people what happened.”

Lubnau said discussion of possible impeachment proceedings against Hill would only come after all the evidence has been heard. At this point, the panel’s work is focusing on fact-finding, he said.

The hearing will also cover topics including budgeting and administrative activities, state involvement with Fremont County School District 38 and the department’s response to legislative directives.

The committee has scheduled 16 witnesses to testify under oath, including Hill.

Hill said Monday that she believes some of the witnesses are biased against her and that she is disappointed she won’t be allowed to question witnesses directly.

“We see a list of hand-picked people, many of whom are being asked to testify concerning things about which they have no first-hand knowledge,” Hill said in a media release.

“More troublesome is how some of these folks have shown clear bias in the past and now may be using this as a stage to further their personal agenda.”

Hill said she intends to draft questions during the upcoming testimony and will try to get committee members to pose them to the witnesses.

Lubnau said legislators didn’t seek to attack the superintendent.

“We had complaints as a body from the members of the education committee who weren’t getting the information they needed and a large number of current and former Department of Education employees who were telling the Legislature about things that needed to be investigated,” he said.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(8) Comments

  1. Nancy Davidson
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    Nancy Davidson - January 27, 2014 8:35 am
    She's expressing her side. Let her practice what she believe is right. Just like in getting custom essays service, you can practice what you know the best but you should also consider other's methods and principles. Its more important than anything else.
  2. WYO-BILL
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    WYO-BILL - January 01, 2014 8:56 pm
    Well said Wyoite.

    This State loves to spend (waste) money any time any where it can on the public school system. I guess since a good majority of people in this State either work directly for the public school system or have family members that do.

    This school bullying by the politicians needs to stop. We elected her so just leave her alone!
  3. Wyoite
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    Wyoite - January 01, 2014 11:59 am
    Lubnau, Teeters Coe, Stubson, Wyoming voters will remember these names for a very long time. It's too bad for the Stubson kid, he seemed nice enough and I thought he was positioning for a run for state-wide office. It's too bad these elderly gentlemen got him caught up in this. Oh well, naivety has killed many political careers.

    Here's the deal, elected politicians should never take away the constitutional right of the people to elect their official. Good or bad, at least it was the people that made the choice. When it's appointed there is no accountability to the people.
  4. Jackson
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    Jackson - January 01, 2014 10:06 am
    It's not easy or enjoyable to defend the process of "removing" Ms. Hill from leadership at the State Department of Education, but it really is a relief to see some saneness return to the department. So, bottom line is a Thank You.
  5. Nathan Bedford
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    Nathan Bedford - January 01, 2014 9:18 am
    Aside from their own carefully prepared "experts" Lubnau's circus will rely on the testimony of former superintendent Jonathan Braack who took full credit for the incredible success of the reading program instituted at Fremont 38 under Hill's leadership while dismantling it completely to spend money allocated for it on office furniture and more administrative staff.

    Under Braack's "leadership" the scores plummeted the following (2012-13) school year after he dismissed Hill's program.

    Braack was terminated at Fremont 38 prior to his contract completion, hired in Niobrara County and fired early last month by the Niobrara County School Board. A more perfect witness for Lubnau's Circus isn't possible. A superintendent fired twice in just over six months by two different districts is the kind of educational leadership Lubnau, Teeters and Coe are looking for.
  6. pappy
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    pappy - January 01, 2014 9:04 am
    Sorry Sassy but this isn't a trial it's still an investigation and Ms. Hill has no right to question possible witnesses. You don't see her attorney filing any motions to allow her to question possible witnesses. Her outrage is purely for the publicity. I think this whole thing is a bad joke and has cost the taxpayers a lot of money. In my opinion she should be gone but that should have been a decision made by the voters not the legislature. Hopefully the voters will hold those legislators responsible for this debacle accountable.
  7. Sassy
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    Sassy - January 01, 2014 8:21 am
    This is totally insane, so the Superintendent can't ask her accusers questions at this hearing?? This is disgusting.

    Lubanau, Teeters, Coe and their band of misfits are riding through the West conducting trials without due process...Imagine that....
  8. jackel
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    jackel - January 01, 2014 7:25 am
    How does one explain the path Wyoming has taken on education, I guess by a staged socialpath investigation. 16 hand chosen people by an investigations which has placed well over a years worth of effort to find fault.
    What did it take the legislative bunch to work up a new law, slam it down the throats of voting public and then try to justify it to the voters? Still this is the outcome of poor leadership and worthless means to justify the end.
    At least Mrs. Hill should be afforded the right to asked counter questions, but this is not a court, it is a stage. The prime actors are the sweet sixteen selected by well over a years worth of investigations. Then Mr. Lubnau wants to see wheather the next step is impeachment? I have no faith in this bunch of Wyoming honesty, wasn't a similar experience done in the Johnson County Wars, by a group of fine Wyoming leadership?
    Instead of Cattle Kate, slide the chair up for Mrs. Hill, for this is mark of shame on us all.
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