NewsPublic AffairsGovernment / July 9, 2014

State Board Of Education Meeting Gets Heated

Claire McInerny - StateImpact Indiana
State Board Of Education Meeting Gets Heated

A state board of education meeting got heated Wednesday as board members argued about exactly how far State Superintendent Glenda Ritz’s authority stretches. Board members say Ritz isn’t keeping them informed about the Department of Education’s agenda.

The arguments stemmed from three resolutions the board is proposing that some say question Ritz’s power as chair of the board.

During the meeting, Brad Elsner confronted Ritz, saying she was overstepping her bounds.

“Yes I’m very concerned superintendent, your understanding of leadership, what’s expected of you and what our role is,” Elsner said.

In her own motions to clarify her responsibilities during board proceedings, Ritz asked to change the wording in a resolution that would create a committee to look at turnaround schools. The original language said the Center for Education and Career Innovation, an educational government agency created by Gov. Mike Pence, would appoint the committee. Ritz instead wanted her staff to appoint the members. She says having  a separate agency intervene in Department of Education matters is an insult.

“It’s an attempt to actually bring to bear and question my integrity, my honesty, my department's capacity to do the work of the waiver," Ritz said.  "And perhaps he thinks his agency is the agency that should be doing that.”

Several of Ritz’s supporters spoke during the public comment period against the resolutions, saying she is the elected official and should have the authority given to that position.