INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (February 9, 2015) — The battle between the State Board of Education and Superintendent Glenda Ritz continues Monday. A vote on House Bill 1609 passed by a vote of 58-40. The bill would remove Ritz as the board chairperson and allow board members to elect a chairperson each year.
Governor Mike Pence issued the following statement:
“Allowing the State Board of Education to elect its chair is an important step to restore the kind of harmony and consensus needed to serve our students and our schools. I commend the leadership of Speaker Brian Bosma, Representative Jud McMillin and all the members of the House of Representatives who acted today to fix what is broken in education governance for the benefit of all our kids.”
Ritz supporters took to Twitter Sunday night to share their frustration with HB 1609. Hundreds of people used #IStandwithRitz to reach out to lawmakers about the superintendent. The topic was even trending on Twitter Sunday night and Monday morning.
The controversial vote comes after tense moments between Ritz and the board. Some meetings included shouting between board members. Ritz was also seen walking out of a meeting.
House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, supports the bill.
“We need to bring some of the in front of the scenes and behind the scenes pointless disagreements to a close and the best way to do that is to allow the board to elect its own chair,” Bosma said.
Ritz was elected in 2012, after beating former State Superintendent Tony Bennett. She is currently the sole Democrat elected to statewide office.
“Indiana chose to have its highest ranking elected authority on education to be the chair and the 2012 elected superintendent should be afforded this role,” Ritz said.