The state's representative, Ed Delaney, has tabled a bill to eliminate the state education council of the state of Indiana, claiming that it did not meet "a useful function".
"I 'm getting rid of it today, if it were all up to me," said Delaney, a Democrat from Indianapolis.
Bill 1147 removes the 11 members of the board of directors and transfers its responsibilities to the Indiana Department of Education. Delaney introduced this idea for the first time last year in an amendment to another bill, but his proposal was not adopted. He heard positive comments, he said, and decided to table it as a bill this year.
"There were Republicans in this building who thought I was right," he said.
Only a few months after Jennifer McCormick, Superintendent of Public Education, announced that she would not be seeking a second term as a senior state education official, in part because of the difficult relationship between his department and the board of directors.
"As I have said in the past, Indiana's governance structure is complex and creates unnecessary challenges," McCormick said. "President Bosma already calling for a bill to remove the election of the position of Superintendent of Indiana, it is the occasion of the challenges of this structure".
The Indiana General Assembly has established the Board of Directors to oversee the development of K-12 education policy, but it is duplicative – and sometimes at odds with – the Department of Education.
The State Council is responsible for authorizing the distribution of billions of dollars in education funds to local schools, adopting rules for the implementation of various programs and requirements, evaluating the performance of schools and implement interventions to improve these performances, among others.
"There are two clearly different missions for the state council and the education department," said Tony Walker, a states council member. "It is very important that the Ministry and the State Council work together on all the issues we address, but it is also important to distinguish between the responsibilities of each other."
An appointed council, it includes the State Superintendent of Public Education, eight members appointed by the governor and a member appointed by the Speaker of the House and the Acting Senate Speaker.
The powers and duties of the board have evolved over time. When state leaders disagreed with the former state superintendent, Glenda Ritz, the General Assembly transferred some of the power of the department to the council of the state. 39; State.
McCormick said the changes over the years have created a difficult, sometimes counterproductive relationship between the two entities. She made waves last fall announcing, only two years after the start of her first term, that she would not look for another one.
The position was to become a position appointed by the governor, rather than elected, in 2025. With McCormick leaving office, the Republicans are preparing this legislative session to evolve this change until 2021. McCormick's term expires at the end of 2020.
Delaney stated that the structure continued to be a problem and that the board of directors had avoided the duty to properly supervise charter schools. It was therefore necessary to suppress it.
"I do not think we have a good structure, and I do not think they contribute, so I think they should just say goodbye," Delaney said.
Gordon Hendry, a board member, challenged this description, saying the board was working well.
"The State Board of Education is probably one of the most important in Indiana," Hendry said. "It has an extremely critical function to set a policy of education for the state."
Call Arika Herron, Education Reporter at IndyStar, at 317-444-6077. Follow her on Twitter: @ArikaHerron.