Although we work within the structures set in state legislatures and constitutions, state education attorneys generally do not have much say about state education governance. We may become involved if legislative acts are challenged. For example, there may be litigation about the legislature’s ability to remove duties from an elected superintendent. e.g., Powers v. State, 318 P.3d 300 (Wyo. 2014). But more regularly, I am asked which state education authority has authority for program X or decision Y.

In Wyoming, an elected superintendent of public instruction is the chief state school officer and runs the Wyoming Department of Education. We also have an independent, gubernatorially appointed state board with one contract staff member. The legislature may assign duties to either entity, but ultimately, department staff will likely perform the necessary work.

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