03/20/2013 11:16 pm ET

Cindy Hill Handed Setback In Wyoming Lawsuit Seeking Restored Education Boss Powers

FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2010 file photo, Cindy Hill answers audience questions during a General Election Debate for Superinte
FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2010 file photo, Cindy Hill answers audience questions during a General Election Debate for Superintendent of Public Instruction at the Wyoming Union in Laramie, Wyo. In just over a year since becoming the state's top public education official, Hill is finding that the learning curve in managing a large government agency can be more challenging than in running a grade school. (AP Photo/Laramie Boomerang, Andy Carpenean, File)

Cindy Hill, the demoted head of Wyoming's public schools, lost an attempt to reclaim her authority Wednesday.

Hill, a Republican who sued to reclaim her powers as superintendent of public instruction, was denied a temporary injunction by Wyoming state Judge Thomas Campbell, according to The Associated Press. Hill, a tea party favorite, was stripped of most of the powers of her elected post last month by a law passed by legislators and signed by Gov. Matt Mead (R). Lawmakers and Mead said she mismanaged the schools agency and failed to implement new laws. Hill later announced she would challenge Mead in the 2014 GOP primary for governor.

Hill and two state residents sued over the demotion, claiming voters had chosen her to run the education department, AP reported. Campbell denied the claim, but made an expedited referral of the case to the state Supreme Court.

Hill, a former junior high school principal, was elected superintendent with tea party support. She had spent most of her tenure clashing with the GOP-controlled legislature. Hill has denied she mismanaged the department.

The legislation that stripped Hill of her job leaves her -- and future superintendents -- a largely ceremonial role with little power over public education. The superintendent's duties now include sitting on boards, writing an annual report, running teacher of the year awards, developing concussion-prevention guidelines and writing regulations for the storing toxic chemicals in schools.

Hill clashed with Mead and lawmakers a week after her duties were reduced when she requested a $4 million budget increase to travel the state and run teacher conferences.

Mead has told The Huffington Post that he is not focused on Hill's pending challenge to him next year and said he is looking for the right leader for the education department.



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