Gov. Mike Pence announced Friday he’s asked a national group to facilitate a discussion “within the State Board of Education,” hoping to de-escalate the tensions among Indiana’s top education policymakers.
Pence’s announcement comes two days after state superintendent Glenda Ritz abruptly adjourned a meeting of the State Board, blocking a motion she felt represented a power grab by staffers of an agency Pence created to oversee the panel and its budget.
The governor announced he’d sought the help of the National Association of School Board of Education, which had agreed to hold a conversation to help the board clarify its responsibilities.“I know you share my believe that it is of the utmost importance to Indiana’s children that the differences that have emerged between the Superintendent and other members of the Board be resolved in a civil and respectful way,” Pence wrote in a letter to Ritz and board members.
Read Pence’s letter here.
Board members say they’re frustrated that communication from Ritz’s office has been almost non-existent — a charge Ritz herself has made about the board.
“The Governor and Superintendent Ritz need to speak about this matter before involving any outside parties. Superintendent Ritz looks forward to working with the Governor to resolve this current issue,” wrote Ritz spokesperson Daniel Altman in a statement Friday.
“If Gov. Pence is serious about resolving this issue,” Altman added, “he needs to engage with Superintendent Ritz directly rather than through the media.”