A Senate bill that would remove the guarantee that state Superintendent Glenda Ritz serve as chairwoman of the Indiana State Board of Education has now passed both houses of the Indiana legislature.
Senate Bill 1, which also would change how the state board is selected, passed 56-41. It’s now up to the Senate to decide if a conference committee is needed to workout the differences with the version it passed or if it will agree to the House changes.
Senate Bill 1 passed the Senate 33-17 last month.
Under the latest version of the bill, state board members would select their own chair. But it also would grow the board to 13 members from the current 11 and would expand the authority to appoint board members beyond the governor.
Including the state superintendent’s seat, the bill would allow the governor to appoint one member at large and one for each of nine congressional districts in the state. But two additional board members would be appointed by legislative leaders in the House and Senate. Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, authored the bill.
Democrats have opposed the bill as an attack on Ritz and an effort to strip her power. Ritz supporters held a statehouse rally against the bill earlier this year. But Gov. Mike Pence and other key Republicans have pointed to ongoing disagreements between Ritz and her fellow board members as a reason to make changes.