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The Journal Gazette

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019 2:40 pm

State schools chief will likely be appointed in 2021

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers have voted for their last state education chief.

The Indiana Senate approved a bill 29-19 today that will allow the governor to appoint the Indiana secretary of education starting in January 2021.

That is when current Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick's term ends. She is not seeking re-election.

House Bill 1005 now goes to Gov. Eric Holcomb for his signature. It was part of his legislative agenda.

Lawmakers decided in 2017 to move to an appointed, rather than elected post. But it was supposed to start in 2025. With McCormick not running again the bill simply accelerated the timeline.

Only 13 states have an elected superintendent, and of those Indiana is one of only nine that makes it a partisan post.

"This aligns our superintendent with the governor, whether Republic or Democrat," said Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville.

Area senators split on the vote. Those in support were Sens. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, Justin Busch, R-Fort Wayne, Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, and Travis Holdman, R-Markle. Those against were Sens. Andy Zay, R-Huntington, and Sue Glick, R-LaGrange.

nkelly@jg.net