IBJNews

Education board member seeks dismissal of Ritz suit

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A member of the Indiana Board of Education asked a Marion County judge Wednesday to throw out a lawsuit filed this week by Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz in Indiana's ongoing education battle.

Ritz sued the 10 governor-appointed board members Tuesday, claiming they violated Indiana's open meetings law when they circumvented her last week in seeking school performance results for the 2012-13 school year. The board members, a mix of Republicans and Democrats, wrote a letter last week to the leaders of the General Assembly asking the bill-drafting Legislative Services Agency to run the school grades.

Each school in Indiana is graded on an A-F scale based on their students' test performance and graduation rates.

The members said Ritz is dragging her feet because she doesn't want to release the grades, but Ritz's office has said it does not have the data needed to calculate the grades. Delays have been caused in part by the ISTEP standardized testing problems earlier in the spring and by a scandal over the school evaluation system.

Tony Walker, a Democratic member of the board, filed the request for dismissal Wednesday. In it, he argues that Ritz does not establish a basis for suing him. A spokeswoman for the state board said she was unfamiliar with the latest motion.

Tensions between Ritz, a Democrat who unseated Bennett in last year's election, and the board members, including many close Bennett allies, have been growing throughout the year. The lawsuit marked the sharpest escalation yet in the ongoing power struggle.

Democratic legislative leaders said Tuesday that the board's latest move is an effort to "sidestep the law" by taking away the grades from the Department of Education. But Republican staffers, meanwhile, began circulating a video clip of Ritz at a state board meeting saying she would welcome the Legislative Services Agency's help with the grades.

"Actually, the department is more than excited about doing a check. That just makes sure what we are going to release is correct," Ritz said in the video, during a presentation from the pair of investigators who reviewed Bennett's changes to the grading formula.

The A-F grades are used to calculate teacher pay and school funding, as well as to determine if schools face a state takeover. The current grading formula is being re-crafted by a bipartisan panel of educators and political officials.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, appeared to request that LSA deliver the grades directly to the state board in their letter approving the move: "We would appreciate LSA providing the A-F calculations to the Board as soon as possible, so that the Board can prepare to issue grades expeditiously."

But some board members have said their intention was only to have LSA run the grades, while leaving the final issuing with the Department of Education.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Come on...
    She won the election fair and square. I voted against her, and my fellow Republicans on the state Board need to respect the process and let her lead. No power grabs by appointed officals over ones elected by the people.
  • Objects if Ritz, schools not deplorable
    I voted for Ritz not for Union jobs, but the unethical method of giving charter schools to donors. The battle today is grading schools. Those who get donations from charter schools loudly demand a school grading system that gives charter schools an A+. Ritz is against rigging the school scoring to favor charter schools. Bennett rigged the grading for charters. Ritz is for grading all students and student progress, a great idea to grade students not as pass/fail but on a comprehensive score that can be monitored by year. Charter schools need to play by the same rules as public. For Pence and Mitch to say...we need school consolidation as these small public schools can't do the job....and then say we need small charter schools....well.....I see too much money from charter school lobbies. Unethical is the method we award charter schools to donors.
  • View Video of Board Meeting to Form Position
    To DC Indy - Two points: (1) Ritz was elected by Indiana voters not just union members; please don't broad brush all teachers/union members as the problem; (2) Ritz is not trying to preserve the status quo; one could argue that the Board is doing that. I have watched the videos of the Board hearings and do not see anything to support your allegations. I suggest you view them as well to help you form informed views. I say this as an Independent who does not have a dog in this unnecessary fight.
  • why then DC Indy
    Do teachers and school administrators back her? Thats the question, over 62% of them back her. Why? I dont know.
  • What This Really Is
    The press and some people are making this a Ritz vs. Republicans fight, in order to cast it as a David vs. Goliath fight, which is clever, but misleading. The Republicans are the Goliath for sure, but Ritz is no David. She holds office only because of the unions who brought out the vote to get her elected and for whom she is their bought-and-paid-for-shill. Bennett was UNETHICAL, and he's gone. She wants to protect the status quo for the benefit of the union members, which means an educational system that is DEPLORABLE and EVERYBODY KNOWS IT!! When are we going to get someone who will put our children's interests above their own?!

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

    2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

    3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

    4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

    5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

    ADVERTISEMENT