School board seats should be filled at polls

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 16, 2007

The issue: Should school board members be elected or appointed?

Our take: They should be elected.

The people speak loudest when they go to the polls and cast ballots for officials. As many offices as possible should have elected officials.

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Appointments may become mired in petty differences among the officials that attempt to name them to the board. Selma’s public has seen this with the arguments over the three vacancies on the Selma City School Board.

Currently, power over the city schools is centralized at City Hall &045; one of the reasons for a school board member leaving the closed-door session last week over hiring the superintendent of education for the city schools.

Because the Selma City Council appoints them, school board members are liable to give the appearance of being controlled by those who voted for them or nominated them.

A way to decentralize the power of City Hall and place it back in the hands of the people is to allow for elections of school board members. Those elections could occur on staggered terms, much like other school boards in this state or in others.

Most of the people in this region fought long and hard and still wear the battle scars of the struggle for the right to vote. Why is it given up at the most basic political level, the local level? Why hasn’t there been a demand before for the school board to become an elective office?

The efforts of some city council members, including Dr. Geraldine Allen, who spoke most recently for the move, are welcomed. Others on the council should heed their reasoning and move in the same direction.