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Bosma, Ritz meet on education bills

INDIANAPOLIS – GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma met today with Democrat Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz today in an effort to wrangle several bills aimed at reducing her power.

Bosma said Ritz promised that voucher enrollment will open March 11, which satisfies him. She is getting back to him about a few other items.

Bosma said the future of several bills that target Ritz will be determined during the course of the day after talking to his caucus.

Earlier in the session he referred to some legislators’ fears of her blocking education reform as “paranoid.”

Since then the House Education Committee has passed several bills that are on the second reading schedule today in the chamber. One would move oversight of the voucher program to the Indiana Office of Management and Budget.

If those bills don’t move on the calendar today, they are dead for the session.

GOP legislators were concerned that Ritz hasn’t yet opened up voucher enrollment, as her predecessor, Republican Tony Bennett, had done last February. Ritz said her transition has slowed the process. Legislators are also considering a large expansion on eligibility for the program.

Indiana’s voucher system uses state tax dollars to send students to private schools. More than 9,000 students obtained vouchers this year.