The Mississippi House has again blocked an effort to allow voters in school districts with elected superintendents to vote on whether they want to continue that system.
The House defeated 66 to 53 a plan that would have allowed voters to decide whether to have an appointed superintendent hired by the school board. Currently, most city districts have an appointed school board and superintendent and most county systems have elected superintendents and school boards.
Mississippi currently has about 60 elected superintendents, including Ken Basil here in Union County, out of only 145 in the entire country.
We have nothing against Basil. We generally think he has done a quality job in managing our county schools.
But when it’s time to get a superintendent, we don’t think a district should be limited to someone who lives in the district and can raise the money to conduct an election.
This is a professional job and districts should be able to recruit the best man or woman for it, not rely on the luck of the draw on who is the best politician. Often, talented educators don’t want to be politicians.
We are particularly disappointed that our local state representative, Margaret Ellis Rogers of New Albany, joined those in defeating the proposal.
There’s a reason why practically the whole country appoints their school superintendents. We think our state is out of step on yet another important educational issue.