Ritz should have opted for a few gallons of paint
Monday, March 18, 2013 11:00 AM
In the scheme of things, Indiana Superintendent of Schools Glenda Ritz's decision to extensively renovate her Statehouse office doesn't appear to be the stuff of scandal.
The renovations, designed by Ritz, who took office in January, cost taxpayers $86,000. (The money came from savings created by the previous administration.)
Not surprisingly, the move by Ritz, a Democrat, drew criticism from across the aisle, with state Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, chairman of the education committee, saying, "I don't think it was necessary."
What concerns us about the renovations, badly needed or not, is the overall wisdom of such an expenditure at a time of challenging education budgets, with public schools being asked to do more with less.
Since taking office after her upset of Tony Bennett made her the lone Democratic officeholder in GOP-controlled legislative and executive branches, Ritz has worked to strike the right tone. While Republican lawmakers around her have wildly proposed bill after bill to usurp her power, she has remained calm, reasonable and in search of common ground.
Perhaps that's why her spending the equivalent of more than double the average starting salary for an Indiana teacher to spruce up her office is a surprising decision -- and a costly one at that.