State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz would remain as Chair of the State Board of Education through the next election under a new proposal unveiled today by State Senator Travis Holdman.

Holdman today unveiled proposed changes to Senate Bill 1 that  he says “would take a comprehensive approach to improving the effectiveness of education governance in Indiana in order to better serve Hoosier students, families and schools.”  However, Democrats still thought the move was more about politics and improving education.

The conference committee report for SB 1 introduced today by Sen. Holdman makes the following reforms to education governance in Indiana:

SBOE Composition –  Establishes a 9-member State Board of Education (currently the SBOE has 11 members) as follows:

  • The State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • Six members appointed by the governor (two members from each of the three Indiana Court of Appeals districts; at least four appointees must have professional experience in education; no more than four appointees can be from the same political party)
  • One non-legislative member appointed by the Senate President Pro Tem
  • One non-legislative member appointed by the Speaker of the House
  •  Provides for staggered terms of the appointed SBOE members.
  •  Beginning in January 2017, requires SBOE members to elect a chairperson.
  • Before July 2015, requires SBOE members to elect a vice-chairperson.

SBOE Operating Procedures

  • The SBOE must meet at least once a month and at the call of the chairperson.
  • The chairperson must provide notice of meetings and meeting agendas on the SBOE and IDOE websites at least five days before the meeting.
  • An action taken by the SBOE is not official unless it is authorized by at least 5 members.
  • If the chairperson of the SBOE is a member other than the Superintendent, the chairperson is required to add an item to the agenda that is requested by the Superintendent.
  • The SBOE may appoint an executive director. The executive director, with SBOE approval, may hire staff.

Increased Information Sharing

  • Designates both the State Board or Education (SBOE) and the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) as “state educational authorities” allowing both entities to receive timely access to information from the federal government needed to make policy decisions at the state level.
  • Requires the IDOE to provide the SBOE any data necessary to conduct an audit or evaluation of any federal or state-supported education program.
  • Allows the SBOE to require the IDOE to regularly report the status of school intervention plans to the SBOE.

Statewide Testing Oversight

Requires the SBOE to authorize the development and implementation of the ISTEP and any other statewide testing program, including:

  • Establishing the criteria for content and format
  • Authorizing and approving the development and establishment of passing scores

The legislation must still be approved by both the full House and Senate.