Welcome to our 2012 election hub, where we’re following key races and referendums that will shape education policy in Indiana. Here’s what you need to know about the November ballot:
Republican Mike Pence defeated Democrat John Gregg in a race run primarily on jobs and the economy. Pence’s education platform focused on access to vocational education. He says employers are having trouble hiring workers with the necessary training. He’d like to see partnerships develop between local schools and nearby businesses. Pence has also called for community solutions when it comes to early childhood education. He’s in favor of school choice, merit pay and high stakes testing, all policies the current Republican administration supports. Read our one-on-one interview with Mike Pence here.
In what she called a “referendum” on four years of education overhaul, Democrat Glenda Ritz defeated incumbent GOP Tony Bennett, who spent his first term advancing the education priorities of Mitch Daniels’ administration. Ritz campaigned hard against many of Bennett’s key policies, including high stakes reading exams for third graders and the state’s A-F grading scale. A library media specialist in Indianapolis’ Washington Township, Ritz had the support of the Indiana State Teachers Association. In a race decided on the question of whether Indiana has pushed for too much change too fast, voters said “yes.”
- Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation voters rejected a 5-cent tax increase per $100 of assessed valuation to pay for early childhood education programs.
- Hamilton Community School Corporation voters approved an additional 44 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to make up for a shortfall in state funding. Superintendent Jon Willman says the district would have sought to consolidate with another school corporation had the referendum failed.
- Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation voters rejected a tax increase of 8.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The district had to take out a loan from the state’s rainy day fund this year. A proposal to raise taxes 12.33 cents failed in 2010.