The drama began in 2013, after Democrat Glenda Ritz defeated Bennett at the polls and differences surfaced among Gov. Mike Pence, the state superintendent and the board.
In response, legislative leaders quietly slipped a provision in the 2013 state budget bill, shifting $3 million from the Indiana Department of Education, overseen by Ritz, to the State Board of Education. In addition, Pence issued an executive order creating a new bureaucracy, the Center for Education and Career Innovation. It was to be supported by the State Board of Education’s new appropriation.
The spending sleight-of-hand was done so quietly that Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn), chairman of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee, said, “Did we pass that in a law? Where did they get that appropriation?”
The 18-member Center for Education and Career Innovation worked so openly to undermine Ritz that public outrage began to build. Under pressure, Pence dissolved the agency in late 2014, but the State Board of Education simply picked up the mantle. Its staff grew from two members to 10, with an 11th employee added just last last year.