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Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz and Gov. Mike Pence

Ritz: Email shows proposal for Pence state board power grab

INDIANAPOLIS – Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz leveled accusations Wednesday that the Center for Education and Career Innovation created by Gov. Mike Pence is coming for her job.

She specifically said her office had documentation showing the center has proposed changing the law so that Pence could appoint the chair of the state board instead of it being the superintendent of public instruction.

Her staff released an email to Claire Fiddian-Green, co-director of the center, from a fellow staff member outlining the "problem" of State Board of Education chair and potential solutions.

If the legislature didn't change the law, the alternative was to seek changes to the board's procedures to minimize the chair's role.

Ritz said she would fight to remain the chair with specific responsibilities.

"I still should have a role."

Lou Ann Baker, spokeswoman for the center, said the proposal was an early iteration of possible ideas for the 2014 legislative session.

She said Gov. Mike Pence shot it down and has affirmed he does not support removing Ritz as chair.

Baker also said Pence told Ritz that in a private meeting just last week.

Ritz' revelation came following an "orientation" meeting of the State Board of Education largely focused on issues with board procedures and agendas.

The policy document was found by Department of Education staff members looking through old emails for evidence of a possible secret meeting in October.

Ritz Spokesman David Galvin said Fiddian-Green's email used to be housed on DOE servers.

Baker said that's a "sad statement" on where people are spending their time.