VALPARAISO | If those seeking to change to an elected Valparaiso School Board hoped to do so by replacing either state Sen. Ed Charbonneau or state Rep. Ed Soliday, both Republicans, they were naive of the workings of the state legislature, Soliday said.
The group also is misinformed of his position on the issue, he said.
Soliday's comments were in response to a story in Wednesday's Times in which Kevin Cornett -- organizer of the petition drive to replace the existing appointed board with an elected one -- said the drive was put on hold while the group worked to defeat either legislator and get the change made in the legislature.
Soliday said any legislation would have to first get the approval of the appropriate committee chairmen in the House and Senate.
The Republicans control both entities and, therefore, the committees. Soliday said he approached the House committee chairman who would have to allow any legislation to be heard and was told any such bill would not be heard.
Soliday said he was prepared to introduce the bill changing to an elected board but was told by the chairman he would oppose it because appointed boards are better. The best alternative Soliday could get was a bill providing for a hybrid board of both elected and appointed members, and he is prepared to introduce that.
"I did not take a position that I'm opposed to an elected board," he said. "If that's what the people want, fine. Just because they want it doesn't mean they can get it past the chairman of the committees in the House and Senate, and I can guarantee a Democrat couldn't.
"To my mind, the issue is what is the problem, and will an elected board solve it? What we want is good public policy. Having a guy (Cornett) leading the charge (for an elected board) who is extremely partisan doesn't get us to good public policy. If the problem is getting rid of Republicans - if that's your agenda - set it out there. If it's that Valpo schools has a problem, then what's the best way to solve it."
Calling Cornett's comments "unfair and partisan," Soliday said, "It's the epitome of naiveté of how the legislature works and an assault on how good government works."