Lawmakers: Wyoming Department of Education misses response deadline

2012-12-05T06:00:00Z 2013-01-11T08:14:11Z Lawmakers: Wyoming Department of Education misses response deadlineBy ELYSIA CONNER Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

State lawmakers say the Wyoming Department of Education missed a Monday deadline to submit its written response to a report last month that detailed numerous failures by the department to meet state requirements.

The Wyoming Legislature’s Select Committee on Education Accountability has allotted State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill 30 minutes to present her department’s response during the committee’s Dec. 12 meeting, according to a letter issued Tuesday by committee co-chairmen Sen. Hank Coe, R-Cody, and Rep. Matt Teeters, R-Lingle.

But “absent a written response from your office, we will assume that the contents of the Educational Liaison Summary Report are accurate,” the letter also stated.

“We are preparing a response and the select committee will have that in a reasonable amount of time prior to their next meeting,” Hill said in an interview Tuesday.

“We said we thought it should be a thoughtful and deliberate, very thorough report,” she added.

“I never requested or agreed to the December 3, 2012, deadline for submitting a response,” Hill added in a written response to the committee letter. She also noted she had previously said she planned to submit her response “well in advance of one day” before the Dec. 12 meeting “and likely before the customary ‘two days’ before a committee meeting.”

“I think pretty much now that the two deadlines have come and gone, I think now she’s limited to having 30 minutes on our agenda,” Coe said in an interview Tuesday.

The Select Committee on Education Accountability heard the Educational Liaison Summary Report on Nov. 14. It was presented by two Legislative Service Office liaisons tasked with monitoring the Education Department’s actions in its duties to carry out the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act.

After the committee’s November meeting, Hill said much of the information in the LSO report wasn’t accurate, and asked for equal time at the committee’s next meeting. A Nov. 16 press release from the department indicated education officials were documenting “inaccuracies in the report,” and that they planned to present them on Dec. 12. The release also said education officials didn’t have time to review the report before the November meeting.

The first page of the report stated, “This is version one of our final report,” and noted that responses from Hill and other officials would be included in other versions.

The committee extended the original deadline of Nov. 26 for the department’s written response to Monday after Hill protested there wasn’t sufficient time to respond, according to Coe. The committee made the original request Nov. 19.

Coe and Teeters’ letter states that the committee gave those deadlines to allow the Legislature and the committee enough time to consider the department’s response before the Dec. 12 meeting.

“We believe the time we provided for you to respond was sufficient, given that the November 13 report was simply a culmination of the reports prepared by the educational liaisons throughout the interim and that were provided to you as they were submitted to the Select Committee,” the letter states.

While submitting a response is important, “the real work continues,” Hill said Tuesday, adding that the department has been very busy over the past several days with work to implement the Common Core State Standards and align state assessments to the national standards the state adopted.

Reach education reporter Elysia Conner at 307-266-0593 or elysia.conner@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter @ElysiaConner.

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

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