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Bill lets Indiana governor, not voters, pick schools chief

20 Avril 2017

The state schools superintendent will soon be appointed by the IN governor.

House Bill 1005, authored by Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, would remove the superintendent of public instruction from IN ballots and replace it with a governor-appointed secretary of education.

The House approved the modifications on a 66-31 vote Tuesday, despite Bosma's desire to keep the language "as flexible as possible" for future executives. Although, the bill isn't exactly what House leaders wanted. "This person will have statewide responsibilities and two years doesn't give them much time to know about the educational process here and the various school corporations", Brown said. "It is the right thing to do".

Similar legislation was heard in the Senate earlier this session.

The Indiana House has failed to advance a proposal that would have banned local governments from regulating short-term rentals like Airbnb, likely imperiling the measure for the session.

In February, the Senate voted the bill down.

The appointed superintendent must have been a resident of IN for at least two years and hold an advanced degree, preferable IN education.

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Originally, the House called for the change to happen in four years.

This session's push to make the position an appointed one follows four years of conflict between Democratic former IN schools chief Glenda Ritz and the state's Republican leaders, including lawmakers and then-Gov.

To opponents, the bill would strip power from voters.

But Rep. Melanie Wright (D-Yorktown) says she's concerned about taking away Hoosiers' vote. "It doesn't mean we can't discuss changing it in the future".

"I respect the sensitivity surrounding this bill as it will have an impact on students, educators, and families across Indiana", McCormick said in a statement. He added "only 13 states elect a superintendent, only nine do it in a partisan electoral fashion like Indiana. The Department of Education will continue to work at all levels and across both aisles to ensure the success of Indiana's education".

The bill now only needs the signature of Gov. Eric Holcomb to become law.

Bill lets Indiana governor, not voters, pick schools chief