On Thursday, Gov. Mike Pence signed Senate Enrolled Act 1 – the bill allowing the State Board of Education to elect its own chairperson starting in 2017 and give board appointments to legislators besides the governor – along with other education focused bills from the recently concluded General Assembly.
The bill originally aimed to remove state Superintendent Glenda Ritz as chair of the board, after drama and arguing that has plagued board meetings for months. But as the bill progressed through the legislative process and many spoke out against changing her role midway through her term, the measure changed direction. The board will be able to elect its own chair staring Jan. 1, 2017, after Ritz’s current term is done.
The most imminent change the law creates is who will serve on the board. Starting June 1, the governor can appoint or reappoint eight positions, and Speaker of the House Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long can each make one. Currently, the governor appoints all positions and it’s never all at once.
Bosma and Long have both said they will likely appoint new members. Pence has not said if and who he would reappoint on the current board, so the June 3 meeting could be the first time we see some of these new members.
“These reforms will give our State Board of Education an opportunity for a fresh start as they serve our kids, our families, our teachers, and our schools,” Pence said in a statement.
As we’ve reported, Gordon Hendry, Brad Oliver and David Freitas released a statement appealing to the governor to keep their appointments.