Lowndes school board pushes bill to change superintendent selection process

January 3, 2014 10:22:12 AM

Sarah Fowler - sfowler@cdispatch.com

 

The Lowndes County School board passed a resolution on Dec. 26 asking state legislators to consider making the state's school superintendents an appointed positions. 

 

The Dispatch originally reported that the board had voted to change its method of selecting a superintendent to make the position an appointed position rather than by election. Under current state law, each district's school board is allowed to determine whether the position is elected or appointed. 

 

Initially, there was some confusion surrounding the resolution, which was perceived as an official act by the board to go to an appointed superintendent. 

 

Superintendent Lynn Wright said he took the board's resolution as an official act by the board to appoint future superintendents. 

 

"I've got two more years," Wright said the day after the resolution was passed. "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." 

 

The matter of appointing superintendents will be presented during the upcoming term of the Mississippi Legislature, which begins Tuesday. 

 

"There's no question it's going to be brought up again," said Representative Gary Chism of Columbus. "That particular bill has been filed time and time again in the legislature. This past year, we passed it out of committee, but it was never brought up on the floor. The senate has passed it to us several times." 

 

Chism said if the bill passes, voters will be able to chose if they want to appoint or elect a superintendent. 

 

"It was amended in committee with a direct referendum for every county to be able to vote on whether they want elected or appointed," he said. "That's the only way I believe it will pass the house." 

 

Board members Bobby Barksdale, Wes Barrett, Jane Kilgore and Brian Clark voted for the resolution. Board member Jacqueline Gray was the lone dissenting vote.

Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.