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Video: School Superintendents: Should They Be Elected or Appointed?

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Should superintendents be hired? And if so, should school board members be elected. It’s a debate that will soon be settled in the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives.

Dr. Jeanette Taylor is a former deputy superintendent for Oktibbeha County schools and says there are several benefits to having them appointed.

“I think it’s good if all superintendents were appointed. Superintendents that are appointed have to go through a very rigorous, vetting process. They typically go to the perspective superintendent district and they talk to people and they may observe. The same thing is not true with elected superintendents.” says Taylor.

Dr. Taylor believes it removes politics from the office.

“I think that politics should be taken out of the whole process. Because after all, the superintendent and the board members ought to have one thing in mind and that’s providing a quality education for the kids and the communities that they serve,” says Dr. Taylor.

Lowndes County Superintendent Lynn Wright disagrees.

“More politics would be played in it by having an elected school board and an appointed superintendent. It’s kind of a checks and balances right now. An elected superintendent has a vested interest in the county or the district where he’s at,” says Wright.

Some golden triangle parents were also split on the debate.

” For an elected official, you have to put a resume out there so voters are going be able to understand who is qualified and who’s not qualified. Most voters are not going to vote for someone that’s not qualified and doesn’t have some kind of recognition in the educational system,” says Julia Melton.

Earnest Fowler believes the position should be appointed.

“If he were to be appointed, instead of elected, the school board that elected him would probably know more about his level of education and will probably do a better job,” says Fowler.

Kim Johnson wants it to remain in the hands of the parents.

“I rather it be the parents choice of that school or county. It should be a mutual decision of the people’s choice,” says Johnson.

Superintendent Wright says before lawmakers vote, they should remember the importance of voting someone in office.

“I look at it like this, our representatives are very important, should we appoint them? No, they’re elected because the people of the county and state have a right to voice their opinion,” says Wright.

Right now, 64 superintendents in Mississippi are elected. The other 87 districts have appointed superintendents. Lawmakers are expected to take up the issue in the full house and senate within the next few days.