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State Board forecast: Frosty with a chance of fireworks

(Photo by Alan Petersime)

(Photo by Alan Petersime)

Today will be the first get together of the Indiana State Board of Education since the Nov. 13 meltdown of a meeting that ended when state Superintendent Glenda Ritz walked out in protest of a board member’s motion.

It seemed last week Ritz might be moving toward peaceful resolution of her dispute with the state board when she agreed last week with Gov. Mike Pence to call in a mediator from the National Association of State Boards of Education. Representatives for Ritz and the state board both also said they were expecting two board meetings this week — strategic planning today and the regularly monthly board meeting on Wednesday.

But on Monday, the second meeting appeared to fall apart.

By late afternoon, no agenda had been posted for Wednesday’s meeting, as required by state law, even though a NASBE representative was scheduled to fly in for the meeting at Pence’s request. On Twitter, board member Brad Oliver hinted that Ritz was asking for the mediation meeting to be held behind closed doors:

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reporter Niki Kelly then tweeted Ritz’s October call for open meetings back at her:

Strategic planning, the stated purpose of today’s meeting, has been a controversial topic for the board since it tapped board member Dan Elsener to lead the process instead of Ritz over her initial objection. The board also still must set a meeting date in December to allow a vote on the release of A to F school grades.

With all those touchy subjects looming — strategic planning, mediation and A to F grades — it won’t be easy for the board to navigate while also trying to move past the hard feelings still simmering from the unexpected end of the last meeting.