Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Without Incident, State Board Agrees To New Operating Procedures

State Board of Education members Brad Oliver, Dan Elsener, Superintendent Glenda Ritz and Troy Albert listen to a presentation during the Dec. 20 meeting.

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

State Board of Education members Brad Oliver, Dan Elsener, Superintendent Glenda Ritz and Troy Albert listen to a presentation during the Dec. 20 meeting.

UPDATED, 2:17 p.m. — The State Board of Education approved new operating procedures Friday that could be the first step in easing tensions between Indiana’s elected superintendent and appointed board members.

Read the new operating procedures here.

Anticipating a motion to limit state superintendent Glenda Ritz‘s authority as board chairwoman, her supporters flooded the other board members’ inboxes with messages this week. But such a move never materialized.

Instead, the board voted unanimously to approve mutually agreed-upon operating procedures hammered out with the help of the National Association of State Boards of Education, the outside group brought in earlier this month to help mediate the tension.

“I’m pleased we’ve come to a good place in the board operating procedures,” says Ritz. “We are also having a lot more communication prior to the Board meetings to be sure we have all parties that are working on the issues together.”

The biggest change? Ritz, who before set the final agenda by virtue of sending it out to the rest of the State Board, now must accept items from all members.

“No Board member can be deprived of the basic rules of Board membership, including the right to place items on the agenda,” according to the new operating procedures.

Board members have complained in the past about their motions not making it onto the agenda for consideration. A spokesperson for the Center for Education and Career Innovation, the new agency Gov. Mike Pence created over the summer, confirmed all requested items would appear on Friday’s agenda.

But the new operating procedures aren’t likely to solve all of the problems: The document doesn’t specify who chairs the board in Ritz’s absence. It also doesn’t outline the process for recognizing board counsel, a problem that’s led to bizarre scenes at past meetings when attorneys for CECI and the Department of Education provided conflicting advice.

Comments

  • hoosier1158

    Why wasn’t the superintendent’s duties ever questioned when Tony Bennett had the office? Just wondering? Why has Ms. Ritz had so much confrontation?

    • Jamal

      It’s politics! Bennett was a Republican the board is mostly Republican so there were no problems. Ritz is a democrat who won the election vs Bennett. Some Republicans are bitter.

    • Ron

      Disappointed int the uninformed response below…. Truth is, when Bennett was State Supt, his vision was aligned with Gov Daniels’ vision, therefore conflict did not exist, agendas were always aligned with desires of board members, and work streams were aligned. Now, Ritz’s vision does not align with the Gov, so there is conflict. What people repeatedly fail to consider is that the Gov (through SBOE) and Legislature define ed policy in IN, check out the legislation. State Supt manages DOE and implements policy. Trouble has existed because Ritz has tried to manipulate the Board’s ability to set policy by restricting motions and being unwilling to allow them to add items to the agenda (based on SBOE member comments). Basically, she was using the agenda to limit what the Board could consider, therefore stifling their agenda. Whether you are on Ritz’s side or the Board/Gov’s, these are the facts, and it explains why there is tension now and there was none before.

      • Rick

        The biggest problem is the Republican policy that is tearing the heart out of public education! Policies that have no proven research behind them. Putting in a system that strips away a young teacher’s ability to provide a respectable lifestyle for their young family. You are seeing a mass exodus of the state’s best teachers. No respect for the professionals who are the experts, not the politicians who think they are because they were a student. Ritz has been a TEACHER! How about the state board or Pence?

        • indyscott

          Rick,
          Before you slam the state board you might want to check out the backgrounds of the board members. Most of them have as much or more experience in education as Ritz.

  • Heath

    Amazing isn’t it?! We manage to get a Democrat elected, for the sake of our children’s futures no less, and Republicans go NUTS! It’s one thing to be sore losers, it’s a whole nother thing to try to steal the votes of 1.3 million Hoosiers! Shame shame shame!

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