INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Thousands of people rallied in support of state School Superintendent Glenda Ritz at the Statehouse Monday.
They’re opposed to Republican efforts to remove Ritz, a Democrat, as chairman of the State Board of Education.
The bill to take away some of the power held by Ritz was eligible for a vote in the state Senate Monday.
The vote was put off until another day as teachers and parents filled Statehouse hallways.
It was called a rally to support public education but most of the emphasis was on support for Glenda Ritz.
“I am sick and tired of being marginalized and disenfranchised,” said Ritz supporter Phyllis Bush. “When they disrespect Superintendent Ritz, they disrespect all of us.”
It’s not just Democrats who object.
“There’s a disconnect right now between the constituency and our elected officials,” said Martinsville teacher Randy Worthington, “and that bothers me a lot as a Republican and as a teacher.”
“I don’t understand how I’m supposed to use my voice and vote,” said Cedar Lake student Phoebe Scherer, “when ultimately the government is going to take that voice away from me by taking away an elected position.”
Democrats in the General Assembly encouraged the effort and Ritz made a brief appearance late in the rally.
“Let your voices be heard. You own this place,” said Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Minority Leader. “You know that don’t you?”
While they were invited, no Republicans made an appearance.
In the meantime, those Republicans are showing their support for education in other ways.
The House GOP version of the state budget was late Monday.
It increases school funding beyond what the governor proposed, calling for hikes of 2.3 percent in each year of the 2-year budget.
Mike Pence called for hikes of 2 percent and 1 percent.