Governor Matt Mead signed Senate File 104 today and appointed a long-time educator as the Interim Director of the Wyoming Department of Education. Governor Mead said he closely considered the Wyoming Constitution and the future of the state when making his decision to sign the bill into law.
"This was not an easy decision," Governor Mead said. "We spend more than almost any other state on our students. I am proud of that. I am proud of our great teachers, amazing school facilities and our professional administrators. But, as we ask them to do more we must be accountable at the state level too. This bill addressed a structural problem in a system that existed for many years. As education has become more complicated we have been mired down. This change allows us to focus on educational excellence for our children."
The Wyoming Constitution says that the Legislature shall provide for the establishment and maintenance of a complete and uniform system of public instruction. The Wyoming Supreme Court has also reviewed the question of the Legislature's role in education and defining the duties of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Court said, "These and other constitutional expressions should leave no doubt that the legislature has complete control of the state's school system in every respect."
"In my first two years in office the Legislature undertook efforts to make state government more efficient and effective through mergers of agencies and a consolidation of IT services. This year the Legislature's effort to improve government functioning centered on education, I am as committed to the success of this year's legislative effort as I have been to the success of their past efforts," Governor Mead said.
"Wyoming kids are competing with children in New York, Texas and Singapore for jobs and spots in universities. Going forward I expect excellence and lively discussions about improving graduation rates, dual immersion language opportunities, charter schools, career technical education and minimizing school violence," Governor Mead said.
Governor Mead has selected Dr. James O. Rose to be the Interim Director of the Wyoming Department of Education. Dr. Rose's Ph.D. is in Education from the University of Wyoming. He is currently the Executive Director of the Wyoming Community College Commission. The process of selecting a permanent director requires the Wyoming State Board of Education to provide three names to the Governor. The Governor selects from those names and appoints a director by December 1, 2013. That appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.