Daily Journal/Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – The state House, which has blocked efforts in recent years to make all school superintendents appointed, defeated a proposal Tuesday to allow people to vote on whether to maintain their elected superintendent.
By the vote, a majority of the House – 66 members – said they did not want to pass any legislation that could result in reducing the number of elected superintendents in the state while 53 members voted in favor of the legislation.
The state currently has a hodgepodge, but in general most municipal districts have an appointed school board and superintendent, and most county systems have elected superintendents and school boards.
A bill that would make all superintendents appointed unless people in districts with elected superintendents garner enough signatures to have a vote on the issue is pending before the Senate. That proposal is expected to pass the Senate, giving the House leadership an opportunity to change hearts and minds on the controversial issue later in the session.
Legislation also is pending to make all school board members elected.
Mississippi has 62 elected superintendents – about half of the total in the nation.
Proponents of appointed superintendents say a better candidate can be found if not limited to being forced to elect someone who lives in the district to the post. Plus, an appointment process would take politics out of the process, proponents argue.
Proponents of the elected superintendents say people should have the right to continue to have a vote on the issue.