Education board members ask Ritz to drop lawsuit

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Four members of the State Board of Education have asked Superintendent Glenda Ritz to drop a lawsuit she filed accusing them of taking secret, illegal action.

The members – Troy Albert, a principal from Henryville; David Freitas, a professor from South Bend; Sarah O’Brien, a first-grade teacher from Avon, and Tony Walker, an attorney from Gary – said in a letter that they “don’t believe politics have any business in education.”

They asked Ritz, who chairs the state board, to “put politics aside and come to the table ready to put the interests of students, teachers and schools first.”

Ritz filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in Marion Circuit Court. It accuses 10 members of the State Board of Education – who were all appointed by Republican governors – of violating the state’s Open Door Law by taking official action without meeting in public for a debate and vote.

The lawsuit followed a letter the board members signed last week that asked GOP legislative leaders to have the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency calculate A-F school grades, even before the Department of Education had finished working on the data.

Ritz said on Thursday that the DOE is working diligently on the school grades and that board should not have asked lawmakers to intervene without a public discussion and vote.

“I have always believed that fair, open and transparent decision-making is best and it is disappointing to learn that the board took action in a different manner,” Ritz said.

But in their letter, the four board members said they have been “been continually frustrated by our emails and requests that go unanswered, missed deadlines, and a lack of progress on issues that are critical to the success of our students and our schools.”

Still, they said they were willing to “set that aside and start over.”

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that Ritz had no authority to file it.


  • Board Members' Comment Ingenuous
    I just about fell out of my chair when I read the quote from 4 of the Board members...they “don’t believe politics have any business in education.” I have watched the videos of the Board meetings and it was clear to me, as a non-partisan--that Tony Walker and Sarah O'Brien were somewhat hostile towards Superintendent Ritz. Perhaps, the entire Board should be reconstituted.
  • Illogical State Board Actions
    Does the State Board of Education think it is a non-partisan action to meet and agree to take an official action and communicate that to Republican legislative leaders without having their chair involved? The chair is the only position involved here that was elected by the voters of Indiana. I have no interest in partisan politics which is killing this country and this simply doesn't pass the smell test---all Republican appointees take an action they would never sanction if their candidate had won. Being in a hurry with results can end up with flawed or faked results like what Tony Bennett produced. This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. It is the totally partisan board playing fast and loose with the rules and the Superintendent who is duty-bound to protect the office and the voters' desire to make a leadership change.
  • ISTA?
    ISTA cronies comment on this story in 3...2...oh darnit. They beat my countdown again!
  • Republican Hypocrisy at it's finest
    I love how the board members say that they “don’t believe politics have any business in education!!” Really?? They should probably let Tea Party Gov. Mike Pence know that belief....oh and maybe Pence could let his APPOINTED GOP cronie Daniel Elsener know that as well.
  • Republicans Don't Believe in Democracy
    The voters of the State of Indiana resoundingly voted Tony Bennett out as the head of the Department of Education. This is the will of the people. So what do Pence and his cronies do? An end-run around Glenda Ritz. Republicans care far more about politics than democracy, especially the politics whereby tax money is diverted to private interests. This is disgraceful and unpatriotic.

Post a comment to this story

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

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1