Pence's Education Proposals Receive Party-line Support

Dec 4, 2014

The governor will disband one group he created and make another move that Democrats say is a power grab aimed at superintendent Glenda Ritz.
Credit Jim Nix / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/5039079018

Legislative leaders are split along party lines in their evaluations of Governor Mike Pence’s proposed changes to the state’s education hierarchy. 

Governor Mike Pence will eliminate the controversial Center for Education and Career Innovation, or CECI, which has been a thorn in the side of state Superintendent Glenda Ritz since its creation two years ago. 

But Pence also wants the General Assembly to allow the State Board of Education – made up of Pence appointees – to elect its own chair, a position held by Ritz. 

Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) praised the proposals, noting the state model for education administration is the exact opposite of the local model.

“There is a different balance of power at the state level, and that different balance of power has created clashes," Hershman says.  "So this is a recognition that maybe the state model isn’t working quite the way…not as well as the local models are.”

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says the ultimate outcome of Pence’s proposals is to strip Ritz of her power.

“They have this pesky lone Democrat that was elected.  They didn’t expect it and now they have to do something about it and they’re grossly overreacting and they’re showing themselves, I think, to be extraordinarily paranoid and insecure,” Pelath says.

Pelath did praise the governor for his decision to eliminate CECI.