INDIANAPOLIS — The Hoosier governor elected in 2020 not only will have all the current responsibilities of the state's highest office, but also will be in charge of administering the Indiana Department of Education.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 29-19 Tuesday to permanently eliminate the elected state superintendent of public instruction and to put a governor-appointed secretary of education in charge of running the $6 billion, 235-employee state agency that oversees education for kindergarten through 12th grade students.

House Enrolled Act 1005 previously passed the GOP-led House, 70-29. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has promised to sign it into law.

The switch to an appointed state schools chief originally was approved by the 2017 General Assembly, with a planned start date of 2025.

Senate President Rod Bray, R-Martinsville, said he filed this year's legislation to move the change up to 2021 after State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick, a Republican, announced in October that she would not seek a second term in 2020.

"I think this is probably a more efficient way to do it," Bray said.

In addition, Bray explained that having the governor appoint the Indiana Department of Education leader will align state education policy administration with the governor's preferences — "whether it's a Republican governor or a Democrat governor."

None of the 19 senators voting against the proposal spoke during Senate debate on the measure, which consisted solely of Bray spending one minute explaining his support for the legislation.

Lawmakers of both political parties previously have questioned the wisdom of taking the choice of state schools chief away from Hoosier voters, and giving the governor flexibility to select almost anyone for the secretary of education post, since classroom teaching experience is not required.

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