Lawmakers in both the Indiana House and Senate took steps Monday that would make changes to the State Board of Education.

The Senate Rules committee, 7-4,  passed a bill that would allow the Board to choose its own chair and reduce the current number of Board members from 11 to nine.  The Governor would appoint four members and the Chair.  House and Senate leaders would get two appointments each.  They would have to appoint a Republican and a Democrat.

In the House, lawmakers defeated a Democratic procedural move that would have halted proposed changes working through that Chamber, which would have allowed the Board to choose its own Chair.   That bill passed out of a House committee last week by 8-3.

Right now state statute mandates the Superintendent of Public Instruction be the Chair, however with recent dysfunction, some lawmakers have said that allowing the Board to pick its own chair might solve that problem.

Superintendent Glenda Ritz and her supporters have called the move a blatant political power grab.