State Ed Board Settles Public Access Lawsuit
September 4, 2014 — TheStatehouseFile.com
INDIANAPOLIS – The State Board of Education has settled a lawsuit with four people who sued over public access issues, with the state agreeing to pay them $15,500 in attorney fees to drop the case.
Retired Merrillville School Superintendent Tony Lux, along with retired Lafayette School Superintendent Ed Eiler, Julie Hollingsworth and Catherine Fuentes-Rohwer sued the board in December 2013, claiming the members acted illegally when they requested help from legislative leaders without taking the action in a public meeting.
But the board members acknowledged no wrongdoing in the settlement. Earlier, the state public access counselor found that the education board members did not “definitively” break state law.
“It’s unfortunate that a frivolous lawsuit like this one wasted so much time and energy that would have been better spent focusing on the needs of Indiana’s students,” said board member Gordon Hendry. “The most important thing to take away from this agreement is that no violation of the open door law occurred, and this case is permanently laid to rest.”
The plaintiffs filed the case after a judge threw out a similar complaint made by state Superintendent Glenda Ritz, a Democrat who chairs the education board. She alleged other board members essentially “met” without her when they crafted a letter and distributed it by email for signature. The email did not go to Ritz.