School board must decide alone

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 14, 2007

When members of a school board go into closed-door session to discuss candidates for superintendent, and one of the members comes out crying, something is very, very wrong.

School board members have been under a great deal of pressure from elected city officials to appoint a particular candidate.

In fact, Council member Samuel Randolph of Ward 5 admitted Wednesday night that he’s in support of Donald Jefferson. He even went so far Wednesday to say he wanted to appoint two school board members to fill vacancies he knew would vote for Jefferson for superintendent.

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This isn’t a diatribe against Jefferson. He’s a good man with fine credentials.

The point is this: The school board members were appointed to make decisions for the schools. They were appointed by and approved by the Selma City Council to do a job.

Now, city officials are picking up the telephone and telling school board members what they want. Not what the school district needs. Not who the most qualified educator would be, but what they want politically.

Selma school board members should stand firm with their convictions and not allow others to intimidate them into making a choice they aren’t sure of.

The recent actions of some who work out of City Hall regarding the hiring of the superintendent give a good example to be used as a reason for pushing to have school board members elected by the public instead of appointed.

First the ploy of appointing two members of an 11 member school board to swing a 4-4 tie, and now pressure from elected officials to select Jefferson, who fell dead last in the polling.

Who is going to draw the line?