The Chairmen of the Legislature’s Joint Education Committee are sponsoring legislation to change the governance of Wyoming K-12 public education system.  Sen. Hank Coe (R-Park) and Rep. Matt Teeters (R-Goshen) have offered SF0104  “Education - state administration” to create an appointed position to administer the Department of Education.

The bill has broad co-sponsorship support, including all majority and minority members of leadership in the House and Senate, the Joint Appropriations Committee chairmen, and various members of the Legislature’s education committees

The legislation prescribes duties for a director of the Wyoming Department of Education, which would be appointed by the Governor, and adjusts the duties for the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Sen. Coe and Rep. Teeters say they sponsored the bill to clearly define roles and responsibilities regarding education policy at the state level.  The sponsors say that Wyoming’s state-level education governance structure no longer serves the needs of students, schools and citizens.

Teeters said, “Education issues should not be political in nature.  The time has come to take personal politics out of the education equation.”

Coe added, “We acknowledge the strained relationship between the Legislature and the State Superintendent. As we considered options to address critical education needs, we worked to separate personality from the issues.  We have done that and recognize that, at its core, the current education governance model is flawed and we have grappled with this flawed structure for several decades.  This bill fixes that problem.”

The sponsors say that without the stability provided by an appointed position to administer the Department of Education, the investment Wyoming has made in the State’s K-12 system is at risk.

Supporters of the bill say that the need for an appointed director is clear, adding, staff turnover, personnel assignments, and budget decisions are hurting Wyoming’s ability to provide the best education possible for its children.