CASPER, Wyo. -- Two of the three Republican contenders for the state's top schools job took extensive time off from work while campaigning this summer.
Jillian Balow and Sheryl Lain have been on leave without pay since announcing their bids for superintendent of public instruction, according to absence requests obtained by the Star-Tribune under open records laws.
Lain, an instructional facilitator at the Wyoming Department of Education in Cheyenne, has not worked for more than a few hours at a time since filing to run for superintendent May 30.
Between May 30 and July 31, Lain has taken roughly six weeks off work.
On July 14, Lain requested leave without pay from then until Aug. 20, the day after the primary election.
Balow, another Cheyenne Republican, said she requested leave without pay, too.
Between the first reports of her campaign on March 17 and her most recently available time log records on July 2, Balow took roughly three weeks off work.
Balow said early this year that she and her staff built a plan to cover administrative decisions Balow's job typically handles.
"We've continued to refine that and work with that plan as we go," Balow said. "We have followed the law and done what we needed to do."
Since then, she has used all her allotted vacation dates and requested leave without pay. Balow said she is working closely with her agency's human resources team and the state Department of Administration and Information to manage until the primary election.
After that, they will reassess.
"We'll need to circle our wagons on Aug. 19," she said.