March 20, 2013 10:20:25 AM
JACKSON -- No study needed, Gov. Phil Bryant said Monday. He'll just try again next year.
Bryant vetoed Senate Bill 2141, which called for a 13-member task force to study how Mississippi's local school boards are selected. The panel was supposed to report back in time for the 2014 Legislature, although there was a provision to extend the study for a second year.
Some lawmakers had wanted all local school board members to be chosen by voters, in part because boards can raise property taxes. Today, county school board members are elected, while some city school boards are entirely appointed and others are a mix of elected and appointed members. Different boards have terms of different lengths.
"Senate Bill 2141 began as an attempt to elect all school boards but has come to my desk as yet another study committee," Bryant wrote Monday in his veto message. "Mississippi does not need more studies. It needs reform. Accordingly, I am vetoing Senate Bill 2141 and will work with the Senate and House to pass a bill in next year's legislative session that achieves its original intent."
Opponents had worried about changing board term lengths and the turnover that could be created by electing all board members at one time. Some city district supporters say they value appointed members who don't want to run for office. Proponents agreed to a study committee to examine those issues.
Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, said Tuesday he wasn't bothered by the veto. He said there was no need for a state law to create a committee to study any issue and he intends to have the Senate Education Committee look at issues related to school boards before the 2014 legislative session begins.