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Move to limit Ritz's meeting powers expected on Friday

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz
State Superintendent Glenda Ritz

If you’re thinking of going to Friday’s Indiana State Board of Education meeting, here’s a bit of advice: pack a lunch.

The meeting agenda, posted Tuesday, starts off new business with an item that appears likely to include a controversial proposal to curb state Superintendent Glenda Ritz’s control over the state board meetings.

State board member Brad Oliver tweeted Tuesday that agenda item would be based on input the board received in a Dec. 4 meeting:

That input mostly went against Ritz, who chairs the board, and seemed to embolden her adversaries on the state board, whose questions focused on whether they could wrest control of the agenda from Ritz and circumvent her rulings in order to hear and vote on motions she objects to. In fact, state board members considered calling an emergency meeting to establish new rules for how the state board functions in the days after the advice session.

Among those expecting a move against Ritz are her allies at the Indiana State Teachers Association. Indiana’s largest teachers union put out a call for action on its Web site Tuesday by listing the email addresses of all the state board members and urging its members to contact them with words of support for Ritz:

“Months of conflict caused by Governor Pence and his appointed board members is expected to come to a head at the meeting. It is widely expected that when the board votes on new board procedures they will remove roles that State Superintendents have possessed as Chair of the board for years — that is until 1.3 million voters elected Glenda Ritz.”

Once the board resolves what its meeting rules will be, there’s another little matter next on the agenda: the release of A to F school grades.

This is the issue that first elevated the tension between Ritz and her fellow board members to full-on battle when board members pushed Ritz to issue the already late grades in October while Ritz insisted the data would not be ready before late November.

Even if both of those agenda items somehow go smoothly, the agenda follows with 19 more items afterward, including other potential controversies such as establishing new parameters for what factors play in to next year’s school grades and how much money Indianapolis Public Schools and Gary will have to forfeit to the five schools in state takeover.

It could be another long one.

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