Gov. Pence offers assistance, writes letter to Ritz and Board of Education

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Indiana Gov. Mike Pence sent a letter Friday to Indiana Superintendent Glenda Ritz and members of the State Board of Education amidst a power struggle between the two parties.

Last month, Ritz filed a lawsuit against 10 board members, claiming they violated the state’s Open Door Law by “taking action outside of a public meeting, in secret, without any notice…” Ritz spoke specifically of a letter that the board members sent to Republican legislative leaders last week. The letter asked legislators to step in when it comes to school accountability scores.

Last week, a judge threw out the lawsuit, arguing that only the attorney general had the authority to file such a lawsuit on behalf of a state agency.

Now, Indiana’s governor is stepping in, encouraging board members to engage with the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) in order to restore cooperation and trust among the board.

“…I am aware that the Board has had difficulties in working together, and I am writing to offer my Administration’s assistance in finding a solution,” read Gov. Pence’s letter in part.

In the letter, the governor said he has reached out to the NASBE and they have “agreed to facilitate a discussion within the Indiana State Board of Education to clarify its roles and responsibilities and reach a common understanding regarding the governance procedures.”

“I know you share my belief that it is of the utmost importance to Indiana’s schoolchildren that the differences that have emerged between the Superintendent and other members of the Board be resolved in a civil and respectful way to restore a spirit of cooperation and trust,” the letter stated.

Read Gov. Pence’s letter in its entirety.

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