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AJ Mast | Associated Press
Indiana Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz responds to a board member's question during the monthly business meeting of the Indiana State Board of Education in Indianapolis on Friday.

Civility breaks out at Indiana education meeting

AJ Mast | Associated Press
Board members B.J. Watts, left, Sarah O'Brien and Tony Walker look over a revised agenda at the meeting.

INDIANAPOLIS – Members of the State Board of Education were exceedingly polite Friday in their last meeting of the year – one that had been expected to be tense.

Instead, the group agreed on some slight changes to board policies and procedure and held off on more controversial moves.

For instance, members of the public now can only address the board regarding issues on the agenda. Previously, they could speak on any education issue at all. Sometimes that has even included daylight-saving time.

Also, a new statement has been added saying board members have a right to place items on the agenda.

The 10 members of the board have butted heads in recent months with chairperson Glenda Ritz, the superintendent of Public Instruction.

Problems have included Ritz not including agenda items requested by members. She has also ruled motions out of order and in one meeting adjourned abruptly though the rest of the board wanted to continue. Board members also regularly talk over Ritz at times.

A few other procedural changes were recommended by a national facilitator but no consensus was reached before the meeting.

Some of these possibilities include allowing another member to run the meeting if the chairperson leaves the meeting. Also, a proposed change would bar the chair from adjourning the meeting while business is still pending on the agenda.

The board said these items would continue to be considered.