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Officials against elected school boards
by Jebb Johnston
Jan 23, 2014 | 210 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Local officials are again pushing back against an effort to have all school board members chosen by popular vote in Mississippi.

While county school boards are elected, many municipal school boards, including Corinth, are not, and the Board of Aldermen wants to keep it that way. The board recently passed a resolution opposing any bills in the 2014 Legislature that would mandate elected school boards.

“We’ve got a system that has worked well for us and, as I see it, will continue to work well,” said Ward 1 Alderman Andrew Labas.

At least one bill that would mandate elected school boards in every district is pending in the new session. A similar effort in the 2013 session did not succeed.

House Bill 443, which would require the election of all school board members and establish a term of office of four years for all school board members, is pending before the House Education Committee. District 2 Rep. Nick Bain (D—Corinth) said he has two amendments prepared — one that would specifically exempt Corinth from the law and another that would make the elected system optional in top-rated school districts.

County school board members currently serve six-year terms. Corinth’s school trustees serve five-year terms.

Labas said electing school board members would politicize the school board and possibly dilute the diversity of the board.

The bill also seeks to require all school districts with elected superintendents to hold an election on the question of switching from an elected to an appointed superintendent.

The city board’s resolution, which was forwarded to the local legislative delegation, the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the house, asks for Corinth to be grandfathered from any such law or for the city board to have the option to call for a vote on opting out of the mandated election system.
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