Though Ritz Can't Sue The State Board Of Education, A Judge Says Hoosiers Can

Jul 30, 2014

Glenda Ritz alleged the state board violated open meetings statutes. A judge said she had no standing. But a court now says Hoosiers themselves do.
Credit Joe Gratz /

A Marion County judge is allowing a lawsuit involving a dispute between state superintendent Glenda Ritz and the State Board of Education to move forward.

The judge Tuesday denied the Attorney General’s request to dismiss the lawsuit filed by four residents against the State Board of Education.

The issue at the center of the lawsuit is whether State Board of Education members violated the state’s open meeting law when they decided via email to send a legislative leaders a letter, asking them to intervene in how school’s A-F grades were being calculated.

Ritz was not a part of that correspondence.

She'd filed a similar lawsuit last October, but a judge threw it out, saying a state official could not sue a state organization. So four residents filed essentially the same suit, and Attorney General Greg Zoeller asked for that case to be dismissed as well.

Marion County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ayers denied Zoeller’s motion, meaning the lawsuit will move into the discovery phase, examining the emails in question.

The state’s open meeting applies to in-person meetings and repeated phone calls, but does not explicitly mention email.