Democratic leader wants to know what’s stalling A-F grade change investigation

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INDIANAPOLIS – One of the state’s top Democratic lawmakers wants answers about the investigation into the Tony Bennett grade change scandal.

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said he asked Inspector General David O. Thomas on Aug. 8 about how the investigation will be handled.

Pelath said he didn’t get an answer and wants to learn more about the investigation timeline. He sent a letter to Thomas expressing his concerns.

“I’m starting to question whether that office is able to handle something of this magnitude,” Pelath said. “There’s a staff of 14. I think we need to question whether they have enough people, do they have the authority they need?”

The investigation stems from emails that showed Bennett and his staff changed Indiana’s A-F accountability formula to boost charter schools. The move gained further scrutiny after Christel House Academy—a charter school run by a Republican donor—appeared to benefit from the move. An independent review found no wrongdoing on Bennett’s part, but did find that the grading system had been altered.

Thomas said he’s reviewing Pelath’s letter and taking the investigation seriously.

“We understand the interest in this investigation and are being thorough in the several issues we are asked to investigate,” Thomas wrote in an email to Fox 59.

Thomas said he couldn’t comment further on the investigation.