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Teachers Union President: Keep Superintendent Elected
Updated November 18, 2014 7:05 AM
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(UNDATED) - Supporters of state school superintendent Glenda Ritz says they will ready if lawmakers try to change the way the superintendent's position is filled.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce on Monday said that one of its legislative priorities would be to make the superintendent's post appointed rather than elected. The Chamber has long called for the change, but it's president says it is imperative now due to the frequent bickering between Ritz and other members of the State Board of Education.

The leader of the state's largest teachers' union says the change would be a mistake.

"By and large in the election of 2012, when you look at the numbers, clearly the voters want to have a voice in this race," said Indiana State Teachers Association president Teresa Meredith. "1.3 million votes for the state superintendent I believe was the count. That speaks volumes."

ISTA was one of Ritz's biggest supporters in her 2012 upset victory over Republican state superintendent Tony Bennett - Ritz was an ISTA board member while she worked for Washington Township Schools and was initially a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Indiana's school voucher program.

Ritz is the only Democrat holding statewide elective office, and Meredith believes it would look petty on the part of the Republican supermajority if they tried to change how the superintendent is chosen.

"It certainly would appear that it had more to do with the fact that there is a Democrat (in the office) rather than the issue of whether it should or shouldn't be elected."

House Speaker Brian Bosma admitted it might look bad politically if the change were made, but he says he is still considering the plan because of the relationship between Ritz and the rest of the state board.

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