Give Now

Delays, Closings and Severe Weather - View All Alerts and Updates

McCormick: ‘Concern’ That Two State Board Seats Still Vacant

Jennifer McCormick is the Republican candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Photo: J.D. Gray

Jennifer McCormick is the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

As two seats sit vacant on Indiana’s education policy-creating body, the state’s highest-ranking education official is concerned.

As Gary Community Schools prepares for a state-hired emergency manager to take control, the seat on the state education board that represents the district remains vacant.

The same goes for East Chicago Schools as it faces a lead contamination crisis in the community.

The Indiana Board of Education member from the 1st Congressional District represents both areas. But that member, Eddie Melton, resigned from the board in November, after being elected a Democrat state senator.

Gov. Eric Holcomb, who took office in January, has yet to appoint someone to the vacant seat.

“It is a concern,” says Jennifer McCormick, state superintendent of public instruction and board chair. “I think the bigger picture is we want to make sure each district has a voice. I know the governor’s office also feels that urgency.”

The 9th District seat sits vacant, as well. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski resigned after she joined the department of education as McCormick’s chief of staff.

In all, 11 members sit on the board. The governor appoints most members. McCormick says having only nine members can cause slow down board business.

Earlier this month during a regular board meeting, one member was absent, leaving eight members to vote on a series of actions. State law requires six “yes” votes for an action to pass.

So when members cast a 5-3 vote to grant waivers to let formerly failing private schools become eligible for school vouchers — no action was taken and the waivers were not granted, due to a lack of votes.

Last month, Holcomb signed the law that created the waivers to help once-failings schools speed up their acceptance back into the Choice Scholarship program.

A spokeswoman for Holcomb’s office says they are working to fill the vacancies.

Since 2015, the 11-member board consists of the following members: eight appointed by the governor; one appointed by Speaker of the House; one appointed by President Pro Tempore of the Senate; and the state superintendent. No more than five members of the board can be from the same political party.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Education Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook