Elected vs. appointed not issue

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 15, 1999

The debate over whether or not the Natchez-Adams School Board should be elected rather than appointed recently received a minor setback as a federal court denied a request of two residents who sued for a change in policy.

The two men argued that under the current setup the principle of one man, one vote wasn’t happening.

Currently the five-member school board is created from three appointments from the city and two from the county.

Email newsletter signup

The men tried to convince the court that such a system wasn’t fair, since persons living inside the city limits of Natchez were also able to vote in county elections as well thus giving city residents more say in who gets on the board.

The court disagreed and said that our system was perfectly constitutional. Now there’s talk about putting the matter in the form of a referendum on the ballot in November. Doing so seems like focusing on a problem that isn’t really there.

The real issue should be what’s best for our children not what’s best politically.

The debate has been around for a while, probably since the 1950s when the current setup was arranged. But it gained considerable support after the school board chose not to renew former superintendent Dr. Willie Hoskin’s contract. At the time it seemed like a simple tactic to keep the board from moving ahead and hiring a new superintendent. Thankfully it didn’t work.

And thankfully our system, while it may not be exactly like other communities where boards are elected, worked. The appointed, multi-cultural board ignored all of the hoopla and pressure associated with the Dr. Hoskin issue, went out and found a solution to our sagging school system. And that solution came in the form of our new superintendent, Dr. Carl Davis. Anyone who says they can’t already see Davis’ mark on the school system must need to see an eye doctor.

And the school system’s success shows that our system works when the administrators and school board members care about the well-being of our students, and it doesn’t matter if they are elected or appointed.