Indiana House: Governor should appoint state school superintendent

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Network Indiana): You may have cast your last vote for state school superintendent.

A House committee has voted to let the governor appoint the superintendent, starting with the 2020 election. The Senate could vote on a similar bill as early as Thursday.

Teachers’ unions protest appointing the superintendent would remove an independent voice on education and deprive voters of a direct say in education policy. But Caitlin Bell with the reform group Institute for Quality Education says it would bring more accountability, not less. With a separately elected governor and superintendent, plus an appointed state board of education, she says it’s too easy for the various players to point fingers at each other.

Newly elected Republican superintendent Jennifer McCormick didn’t testify on the bill. Her only public comment on the proposal has been a statement last month calling it a “difficult decision” for legislators. But Governor Eric Holcomb has made the change part of his legislative agenda.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma, who authored the bill, says Democrats have more to gain politically. Ritz was the only Democrat in the last 40 years to be elected superintendent, while Democrats won four straight governor’s elections before Republicans’ current four-election winning streak.