CHEYENNE – At a meeting yesterday, members of the State Board of Education voted to recommend keeping the State Superintendent as a voting member of the board. After significant debate, the board chair and only one other member voted in favor of removing the Superintendent’s vote. This represents a significant change from two years ago when the board recommended to the legislature that the State Superintendent be stripped of their vote. “I am proud of the majority of the board for working to move on from the chaos of the past. There is simply no need for power plays any longer,” stated State Superintendent Jillian Balow.
The motion came during a discussion about an upcoming report to the Joint Education Committee about the need for the board coordinator position. During the 2016 legislative session, the Joint Appropriations Committee voted to remove the position that was created in 2012. Later in the session, the coordinator position was added back into the budget for one year. According to Communications Director, Kari Eakins, the position was created during a time of strife and leadership turnover at the WDE. “Statutorily, the WDE is charged with supporting the work of the board. In recent years, this was not always done in good faith. Now, and historically, the board has WDE staff support that goes above and beyond statutory requirements.” In addition to the coordinator position, the WDE provides a full time education consultant. WDE staff also supports communications for the board and carries out its work.
“The strength of the board is its members. We have made immense progress over the past couple of years and need to continue to work together to address fiscal challenges and keep moving forward to improve outcomes for students. The best way to do that is to work together as we are expected to do. Debating education governance is a stagnant discussion,” Balow added.
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Kari Eakins, Communications Director