An elected city school superintendent

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 26, 2007

To the Editor:

There has been some discussion of an elected Selma City Board of Education.

Studies show that an appointed or an elected school board has its advantages and disadvantages.

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Neither, overwhelmingly, outweighs the other.

If the city school board members should ever be elected by the voters of Selma; then, the selection of the school superintendent should also be included on the ballot.

The election of a city school superintendent of education, along with an elected school board, demonstrates a full circle of the democratic process. For decades, the question has been asked nationally, “Should local superintendents be elected or appointed?”

According to a report issued by the Southern Regional Educational Board, proponents of electing superintendents say that system is more democratic.

Superintendents chosen by voters represent the communities they serve and are likely to be more responsive to their districts’ needs.

Proponents also say that elected superintendents balance the power of the school boards because they are less likely to be influenced by school boards’ agendas and are free to voice views that contradict these agendas.

The report further states that opponents of electing superintendents say that an appointment system has a clear line of accountability.

Appointed superintendents are more accountable to the school board; board members, if elected, are accountable to the voters.

Advocates of appointing superintendents say this system increases the pool of qualified candidates for the jobs because they are not required to be residents of the district.

A large number of candidates gives the school board a better chance to find a candidate who meets the districts’ needs.

Supporters of this system say that appointed superintendents spend their time running schools, not running for office.

Alabama currently has 40 elected school superintendents. There is phenomenal growth ahead for the local school system and the city of Selma.

Gerald Shirley


School of Discovery