Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Center Will Oversee Education Agencies ; but Schools Chief Ritz Cries Foul at Loss of Control

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Center Will Oversee Education Agencies ; but Schools Chief Ritz Cries Foul at Loss of Control

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mike Pence on Friday signed an executive order creating the Center for Education and Career Innovation to unite the administration's goals for workforce development and education. The center is meant to "improve collaboration among Indiana's public, private and nonprofit education and workforce partners by aligning education and career and workforce training efforts," Pence said.

The Indiana Career Council, the Indiana Works Councils, the Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education, though functioning independently, will exist as part of the new agency. The budgets for those groups will also be directed through the new center.

"All of these disparate entities that have grown up over different years and have different responsibilities in terms of policy innovation have a place to come together, to think together," Pence said.

But a spokesman for Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, complained that the Republican governor never informed her about the change. Traditionally, money for the State Board of Education has flowed through her office, which oversees the Department of Education.

However, after Ritz won the post last November - becoming the first Democrat to do so since 1973 - state board members voted to exert more control over its funding and hire its own staff. Under Pence's executive order, that funding will now be part of the new Center for Education and Career Innovation.

Ritz found out about the change through the media, said her spokesman, Daniel Altman.

"Last November, 1.3 million Hoosiers said that they trusted her to run the Department of Education," Altman said. "Hoosier students would be better off if the governor would work with her, rather than around her on this vital issue."

But a statement from the governor's office issued late Friday said Pence's staff informed Ritz's staff about the change.

That came hours after Pence visited the career center at Warren Central High School to sign the order creating the new center. Teachers and students joined him for the announcement.

The funding for the center includes a budget of $5 million, which was already approved by the General Assembly through appropriations for the existing boards. …

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