Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Judge: Lawsuit Against SBOE Members Will Go Forward

State superintendent Glenda Ritz and the rest of the DOE are accepting public comment on their draft proposal to the keep the state's No Child Left Behind waiver.

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

State superintendent Glenda Ritz sued the State Board of Education last October, but the suit was thrown out. Now four private citizens who filed the same suit on her behalf are getting traction with the lawsuit.

A Marion County judge says a lawsuit against the State Board of Education from four private citizens will not be dismissed and will get a closer look in court.

Judge Cynthia Ayers ruled against the State Board’s request to dismiss the suit, saying proper discovery must be made before a ruling can be issued.

The Associated Press reports on the details of the suit:

At question is whether board members violated Indiana’s open meetings laws by circulating a letter seeking changes in who calculates the state’s “A-F” school grades.

The suit mirrors a challenge state Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz filed last year against board members. A Marion County judge dismissed that challenge on the grounds that she could not file a challenge without the approval of the state attorney general’s office.

The legality of SBOE members corresponding about board matters via email is murky. Ayers wrote in her ruling: “there is no Indiana case law on whether electronic communications fall within the meaning of the word ‘meeting.’ Therefore, in order for the court to properly determine this issue while liberally construing the provisions of the (law), a full examination of the facts and circumstances of the events in question is necessary.”

Ritz’s original lawsuit was dismissed in October because a judge said Ritz, a state appointed official, could not sue a state organization, leading the four private citizens to file a similar suit in December.


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »