The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

State News

September 8, 2013

Bennett relieved report clears him

INDIANAPOLIS — Former state schools chief Tony Bennett spent five lonely weeks at his Tallahassee, Fla., home before getting the results of an independent report that cleared him of accusations that he “fixed” a school grade for a Republican donor while he was superintendent of public instruction in Indiana.

The report’s release Friday, which he found out about on Twitter, brought him the relief he and his family had been hoping for since the allegations first arose in a widely published Associated Press report in late July.

“Let’s make no mistake, we were already tried and convicted in the court of public opinion,” Bennett said in an interview from his Florida home.

The 56-page report, authored by a Democrat and a Republican who spent a month analyzing reams of data, concluded Bennett and his staff made “fair” and “plausible” changes to the state’s school rating system before releasing 2012′s A-F grades. The report also found Bennett and his staff “consistently” applied changes to benefit not only an Indianapolis charter school but to 180 other schools across the state.

“I thought that took a pretty strong backbone, given the fact that the narrative was so negative initially,” Bennett said.

That narrative – that the Republican Bennett had manipulated a grade for a single school for partisan political reasons — triggered a chain reaction that included his quick decision to resign as Florida’s schools commissioner, a position he took after he was defeated for re-election in Indiana by Democrat Glenda Ritz last November.

Bennett said his decision to resign came not because he did anything wrong, but because he wanted to spare Florida’s Republican governor and its state education board from any more negative publicity.

“I think this work (to improve schools) in Florida deserved a commissioner who wasn’t going to be coming back to Indiana to try defend his credibility,” Bennett said. “I didn’t think the (Florida) state board should have to, every time I made a recommendation, have to read about me defending my integrity.”

Text Only
State News
  • HB0729 - state fair - MH Indiana State Fair gets underway for 17-day run

    The Indiana State Fair is getting underway with its usual confections and hearty treats as well as alcoholic drinks for the first time in nearly 70 years.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_teenpilot.jpg Teen pilot who died seeking record laid to rest

    A central Indiana teenager who died when his plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean during an around-the-world flight was laid to rest Thursday following a funeral service where he was remembered as a witty young man whose ambitious journey inspired others to pursue their dreams.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0706 - scooter - 04 Police say new mo-ped law hard to enforce KOKOMO — With more and more mo-peds hitting the streets, police are having a hard time enforcing new restrictions encompassed in the new scooter law.Mo-ped drivers can still cruise the streets and roads on their two-wheel machines, but the new state

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Venue change granted for blast suspect A judge granted a change of venue Wednesday for the trial of one defendant in a deadly Indianapolis house explosion after prosecutors dropped their objection.

    July 31, 2014

  • No Child Left Behind request exposes rift A new critique of Indiana's efforts to maintain its exemptions from the No Child Left Behind requirements, written by top staff to Gov. Mike Pence, is widening a rift between state education leaders as federal officials near a decision on the waiver.

    July 30, 2014

  • Boyfriend of missing Shelbyville woman arrested Authorities searching for a missing central Indiana woman have discovered what they believe to be human remains and have arrested the woman's boyfriend.

    July 30, 2014

  • Pence pushes Medicaid alternative with HHS chief Gov. Mike Pence has told U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell that he wants to maintain Indiana's "freedom and flexibility" under any expansion of Medicaid.

    July 30, 2014

  • Indianapolis Violence-3 [Duplicate] Indy mayor backs tax to hire more officers Indianapolis' mayor proposed tax increases Wednesday to hire 280 additional police officers over the next four years and help respond to the city's surge in violence by targeting links between poverty and crime.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pence wants immigrant children taken out of state

    Gov. Mike Pence is asking that more than 200 immigrant children placed in Indiana be deported and chiding President Barack Obama for not alerting him of the placements.

    July 30, 2014

  • Indiana BMV asks court to delay vanity plate sales The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has asked the state Supreme Court for permission to continue its suspension on sales of vanity plates until a court case is settled.

    July 29, 2014

Staff Photos


We're looking for your photos! Share your photos of your favorite people, places and Madison County events in our September reader photo gallery. Click here to upload your photos

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide