Judge Denies Attempt to Block Selection of New Wyoming Superintendent
Following a temporary ruling which halted the appointment of a new State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Judge Scott Skavdahl has denied an attempt to prevent the appointment of a new state superintendent.
After former state superintendent Jillian Balow resigned from her position on Jan. 16 to go work in Virginia, the Wyoming Republican State Central Committee selected three candidates to send to Governor Mark Gordon, who would select the new superintendent.
In response, some people who were involved in the selection process felt the Republican Committee did not follow the Wyoming and U.S. constitution, as the committee gave each county three votes, instead of proportioning the number of votes based on population.
Those people then filed a case against Gordon and the committee to try and stop the nomination of the state superintendent but were denied in this case.
In the ruling, judge Skavdahl said the plaintiffs have not demonstrated a likelihood that they will succeed and failed to meet the burden of proof.
The judge argues that because the plaintiffs did not show irreparable harm being done, their case does not have merit.
Specifically, the complaint mentions that because one of the plaintiffs, Dave Northrup, did not get one of the three nominations under the current system, harm has been done.
However, Skavdahl states that the plaintiffs do not provide any evidence for why that is the case, as Northrup only received seven votes, while the three winning candidates received 62, 56, and 52 votes respectively.
Skavdahl also states that little harm has been done because a new superintendent will be voted on in the upcoming November election and that the current appointment will only be in office for nine months.
Based on state statute, Gordon has five days after he received the three nominations for state superintendent, which were sent on Jan. 22, to decide who will replace Balow.
Michael Pearlman, communications director for Gordon's office, said the governor will announce his appointment for state superintendent later today.