NewsEducation / December 5, 2013

Fresh Lawsuit Against State Board Members Seeks Direct Answer To Ritz’s Open Door Complaint

Kyle Stokes - StateImpact Indiana
Fresh Lawsuit Against State Board Members Seeks Direct Answer To Ritz’s Open Door Complaint

When a Marion County Circuit Court judge threw out State Superintendent Glenda Ritz’s lawsuit against members of the education panel she chairs, he did so on procedural grounds — but left her primary complaint unaddressed.

Now, four private citizens are filing suit against the State Board of Education on the same grounds: that board members, in essence, met over email without her knowledge, violating Indiana’s public meeting laws.

Two retired public school superintendents — Lafayette’s Ed Eiler and Merrillville’s Tony Lux — joined Bloomington education activist Cathy Fuentes-Rowher and Fort Wayne school board member Julie Hollingsworth in filing the complaint in Marion County court Wednesday.

As in Ritz’s suit, the plaintiffs’ claim centers on a letter State Board members sent to legislative leaders seeking their help in calculating A-F letter grades for schools. They say in authorizing the use of their signatures on the letter, the board members took “official action,” which under Indiana’s Open Door Law would have to take place in a public meeting.

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