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State Board of Education member Brad Oliver and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz speak during a break at the Indiana State Board of Education meeting at the Indiana Government Center South on Wednesday. (The Indianapolis Star | Kelly Wilkinson)

Ritz adjourns State Board of Ed meeting, walks out

Leaves meeting room with business remaining on calendar

Ritz speaks during the meeting. (The Indianapolis Star | Kelly Wilkinson)
State Board of Education member Andrea Neal voices her concern over a proposal on the table as board member Daniel Elsener listens. (The Indianapolis Star | Kelly Wilkinson)

The State Board of Education imploded Wednesday when its chairwoman, Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, refused to allow members to vote on a motion and unilaterally adjourned the meeting with business still on the calendar.

She abruptly left the room while the other members of the board remained to consider their legal options.

At issue was a resolution the board wanted that would have allowed staff of the governor-created Center for Education and Career Innovation to review Common Core standards in addition to the Indiana Department of Education.

It was one more example of the power struggle created by the dual education agencies trying to perform the same duties.

Board member Gordon Hendry said legally the board could move forward with the motion in the absence of Ritz, but the panel decided to wait. They adjourned after expressing frustration about the situation.

"I don't like what's just happened, but I don't want to exacerbate it," member Brad Oliver said.

In recent months tensions have boiled over as Democrat Ritz tries to navigate the system that Republicans largely control. She has at times ignored board procedures that even she voted for, saying she is negotiating with the governor's office on the matters.

"The breakdown of trust is serious," member Andrea Neal said.

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