Board right to avoid ‘hornet’s net’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 1999

It seems we have yet another &uot;hornet’s nest&uot; here in Adams County that folks keep trying to stir up.

This time, it’s the debate over whether to elect or appoint the Board of Trustees that oversees the county’s public school district.

Members of the Adams County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 this week against putting the issue on the November general election ballot as a public referendum.

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The sting comes in some supervisors’ realization that any public referendum on the issue could become a violatile weapon in the judicial system battle over the same issue.

Two Adams County residents are appealing a court decision to reject their lawsuit to mandate an elected school board in Adams County.

The current system – established in the 1950s – is unconstitutional because it violates the one-man, one-vote principle, the plaintiffs say.

Any outcome in a public referendum could easily become ammunition for either side in that political debate, and supervisors rightly want to avoid that happeneing.

Moreover, if the appeals court were to rule in favor of the plaintiffs and find the system unconstitutional, some legal experts say every decision made by the school board during the past 30 years could be overturned.

And those are both valid reasons for Monday’s decision.

We believe Adams County residents and the Board of Supervisors must wait before taking any further action on this issue until all legal appeals are exhausted – whether that is a public referendum or renewed legislative efforts to change the law governing the school board’s structure.

For now, the issue is in the judicial branch … when that’s resolved, we can consider other options.