Corder: Appointed School Superintendents should lead to Elected School Boards

1024x1024srBy Frank Corder

Clarion Ledger’s Geoff Pender wrote recently, “There appears to be a political harmonic convergence — all the stars are lining up to allow” the Mississippi Legislature to pass a bill aimed at making all school superintendents appointed rather than elected, a measure Pender says is “long-needed, long-thwarted reform.”

On this point we agree. As Pender notes, Mississippi is one of only three states that elect any school superintendents. The tail often wags the dog.

State Rep. Charles Busby (R-HD 111) is drafting a bill that would require all public school superintendents be appointed by the 2019-2020 school year. This timeframe would allow those recently elected superintendents to nearly complete their term while providing local school boards time to make the necessary changes to their policies and begin a search for a superintendent they would appoint.

Rep. Busby believes the public should still have a voice in their local education processes, particularly on local school boards. As such, Busby aims to include a measure in the bill which would allow those districts shifting from elected to appointed superintendents to hold a special local election to determine whether voters prefer an all elected school board, an all appointed school board, or a mixture of an elected and appointed school board. This election would preferably coincide with the 2016 national election in November.

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