Board’s push to elections smells fishy

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Editor’s note: The original version of this story incorrectly listed the number of school board appointees the county has. The county appoints two members while the city appoints three. The Democrat regrets the error and is happy to set the record straight.

When things operate smoothly and everything smells like roses, discourse rarely occurs.

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When something starts smelling badly or begins to malfunction, the sidestepping and disassociating begins.

It’s particularly common with elected officials and the dreaded T-word — taxes.

Sidestepping appears to be at the heart of the Adams County Board of Supervisors’ Monday discussion of whether the local school board should be elected or appointed.

The principle of taxation without representation is the driving factor, supervisors say. If the school board can levy taxes then its board should be elected, supervisors say.

Their timing is curious, however, coming just a few weeks after the Natchez-Adams School Board announced plans to raise property taxes and just weeks before many supervisors face opponents in the August primary races.

Several supervisors have vowed never to raise taxes, and we’re certainly not fans of additional taxes.

But to say taxpayers don’t have any say in the matter is not exactly correct. Supervisors — who appoint two of the five school board members — have a direct say in who is appointed to the school board.

Under our current system, voters elect supervisors and Natchez aldermen — who appoint two school board members — and they collectively choose who will lead the school district.

If voters want to change the current system, let’s move in that direction.

Such a move will be more credible, however, if it’s done after the elections. Until then it smells like politicians sidestepping the T-word.