INDIANAPOLIS — It appears increasingly likely that Republican Jennifer McCormick will be Indiana's final, elected state superintendent of public instruction.
The House Education Committee on Wednesday approved a plan, sponsored by House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and endorsed by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, to move the start date for a governor-appointed secretary of education to 2021, instead of 2025.
The earlier start was Holcomb's intention when he and Bosma identified an appointed state schools chief as one of their top priorities in 2017.
An unexpected defeat for that proposal in the Republican-controlled Senate initially forced Holcomb and Bosma to settle for a 2025 changeover.
However, after McCormick last year announced that she will not seek re-election in 2020 it opened the door for House Bill 1005, giving the governor elected in 2020, instead of Hoosier voters, the authority to select the leader of the Indiana Department of Education.
Supporters claim that making the post governor-appointed will prevent conflicts similar to the 2013 to 2016 period when Republican Gov. Mike Pence repeatedly clashed with Democratic State Superintendent Glenda Ritz over state education policy.
It also may serve to eliminate some education bureaucracy, since many functions of the governor-controlled State Board of Education duplicate actions taken by the Department of Education.