Sid Salter: Appointing school chiefs helps remove politics

Electing school superintendents makes the leadership of school districts a popularity contest and more to the point, limits the talent pool available to lead school districts to educators who live within the district. The point was made several times over the multi-year life of the fight to make Mississippi school superintendents appointive rather than elected that state voters never put those kinds of limits on the hiring of a football coach for the same school district…

…Thankfully, with a united front of support from Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn, the Mississippi Legislature was in a position during this session to finally act on this archaic practice. All three made their support of appointive superintendent legislation known early in the 2016 session.

It’s an issue on which Mississippi is out-of-step with the rest of the country. In some 99 percent of the school districts in the U.S., school superintendents are appointed. There are about 150 elected superintendents nationwide, and about 55 of them are from Mississippi.

Why does it matter? Accountability. Board-appointed superintendents can provide greater accountability, as they answer to the elected school board.

ClarionLedger
4/13/16