No sitdowns, no meetings in fight over your child’s education

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WEST LAFAYETTE – More than a week after a State Board of Education meeting melted down, Fox 59 caught up with Superintendent Glenda Ritz as she met with teachers in West Lafayette.

Speaking to retired teachers, Ritz focused largely on her visions for education and the work of her Department. She even pointed out firmly, that she’s an educator.

“I am not a politician,” Ritz then said.

That comment drew cheers and applause.

It’s the latest in a clash between classrooms and board rooms that last week, came to a head. Ritz walked out of a Board of Education meeting, upset over what she called a move by the Governor to usurp her Department’s power.

A week later, Ritz stood her ground.

“We are busy at the Department just doing our job and reviewing standards and getting supports to schools,” Ritz said.

Board member Dr. Brad Oliver confirmed that there have been no talks between Ritz and the Board or plans to meet to talk about this fight at all outside regular board meetings.

“Since she abruptly adjourned the meeting, I’m looking for her to give direction to us on when we’re meeting again and then also clarifying for us what are the procedures that are going to govern the decorum at our meetings,” Oliver said.

Ritz has said she wants to sit down with Governor Mike Pence to resolve this first, but could not provide a date for that meeting.

“I’m hoping to meet with the Governor very soon,” Ritz said.

Instead, her focus Thursday fell on visiting schools and speaking with teachers, saying she expects the legislature to weigh in come January.

“(I) do think that it will be a topic that comes up in the legislative session, regarding the new education agency that the Governor has formed,” Ritz said.

That is not set in stone, as bills have yet to be filed for the upcoming legislative session. However, Democratic leaders did voice support for Ritz at this week’s Organization Day at the Statehouse.

It appears that the fight, as of now, may continue for a long time to come. The next scheduled Board meeting is in just two weeks, on December 4th.

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