Bill would make superintendents appointed, not elected - - Jackson, MS

Bill would make superintendents appointed, not elected

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Many voters in Mississippi could find one less race on the ballot if a bill in the legislature becomes law. It would make all local school superintendents appointed by school boards, rather than elected, beginning in 2016.

Authored by senate education committee chairman Gray Tollison, the bill passed the senate education committee and is now pending on the senate floor.

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves supports the bill. At this month's Stennis-Capitol Press luncheon, Reeves said with Mississippi's educational rankings, it's another change that's needed for education reform.

"There are less than 150 elected school superintendents in the United State of America. Over half of them reside in the state of Mississippi," said Reeves.

Currently there's 149 superintendents across Mississippi. Of those, 64 are elected. The rest are appointed by school boards. Because of districts lines in Mississippi some school boards are elected, some are appointed and the rest are a blend of both.

"Somebody has to be responsible to the general public," said democratic senator David Jordan.

Jordan says he's not opposed to having superintendents appointed, but says if that's the case, then all school board members should be elected.

"There should be somebody elected according to democracy because somebody has got to speak for the people and be responsible to the people," said Jordan of Greenwood.

Jordan says the legislation is an attempt that's been tried before, but has yet to become reality.

"Somehow it bit the dust down the road, maybe over in the House or someplace," said Jordan.

With education reform at the top of the agenda for many lawmakers this year, a new way of leadership may be the next step.

The bill is expected to go before the full house within the next two weeks.

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