December 27, 2013 8:51:18 AM
Sarah Fowler - [email protected]
Voters in the Lowndes County School District will no longer be able to vote for their school superintendent.
In a 4-1 vote, the Lowndes County School board voted to grant themselves the power to appoint the superintendent. Bobby Barksdale, Brian Clark, Wes Barrett and Jane Kilgore voted in favor of the resolution. Currently, both the superintendent and members of the school board are elected.
When reached for comment Thursday afternoon, Superintendent Lynn Wright was still coming to terms with the board's decision.
When asked if he felt the board's decision was personal, he said he "didn't want to speculate."
However, with two years left in his four-year term, Wright said he would continue to do his job in the same way he has for the last two years.
"I've got two more years," Wright said. "I respect their opinion and they're entitled to it. I feel like I have an obligation to all of the voters in Lowndes County to be a good steward of the taxpayers' money and ensure students get the best education possible."
Out of more than 14,000 school districts in the nation, only 147 have elected superintendents. Of the 147, 63 of those are in Mississippi, according to the Mississippi Parents' Campaign.
Wright said the board based their decision to appoint superintendents to get away from politics in the school district. However, Wright said in his opinion, the political aspect is what helps keep superintendents accountable.
"Any elected official has to answer to the voters," he said. "It's their tax money that you're responsible for making sure that it's used effectively and efficiently."
Wright also pointed out that board members will still be elected.
"On the one hand, they're saying one of the reasons to have an appointed superintendent is because it becomes too political but if you have elected board members, that's probably even more political," he said. "There's no statistics from what I have seen and heard that show that appointed superintendents are any more effective than elected superintendents."
Regardless of what the future holds for him, Wright said he will concentrate on doing his job.
"I enjoy my job," he said. "I love the people I work with. I love the people that I serve and the students and I look forward to going to work every day. I trust with God's help it will work out, however it works out. Whether I'm there for two years or however long, I just want to make sure we're doing all we can for the students of Lowndes County."
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.