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National group will help mediate education board dispute

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Republican Gov. Mike Pence and Democratic Superintendent Glenda Ritz met behind closed doors Tuesday and agreed to engage an outside group to help mediate disputes within the State Board of Education.

In a joint press release, the elected officials said the National Association of State Boards of Education will “facilitate a conversation” among board members about their roles and responsibilities as well as the operation of the board.

Ritz, who unseated Republican Tony Bennett last year, is the chair of the board, while its other members have all been appointed by Republican governors. Ritz and the board have clashed often over big issues such as how to assign grades to schools and small issues, including how to set the board’s agenda.

Pence said in a statement that he’s “grateful to the superintendent for her willingness to work with my administration to address the challenges and opportunities for Hoosier students, teachers and schools.”

Pence suggested bringing in the national education association just days after a State Board of Education meeting imploded over issues about whether Ritz’s office or the Center for Education and Career Innovation will oversee a study of Common Core curriculum standards. Pence created the CECI earlier this year in part to staff the Board of Education, a job that used to belong the Department of Education that Ritz oversees.

But the tension between Ritz, the board and Republican leaders has been building. Board members say that Ritz ignores their requests to put issues on meeting agendas for discussion and refuses to let them vote on proposals, despite a shared governance agreement she signed.

And Ritz accuses Pence of using the board and the new agency to try to undermine her authority. On Wednesday, she was more conciliatory.

“Since the last meeting of the State Board of Education, I have said that the governor and I needed to work together directly to address recent issues that have arisen,” Ritz said. “Yesterday’s meeting was a first step towards that goal. I believe the governor now has a clearer understanding of my concerns regarding the CECI, but much work remains to be done.”

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

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  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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