Fate of board not likely to impact grades

Published 12:05 am Sunday, June 22, 2014

Elected or appointed? The question comes up at least once every year with regard to members of the Natchez-Adams School Board.

For years we’ve been relatively supportive of the current system in which school board members are appointed by the Natchez Board of Aldermen and Adams County Board of Supervisors.

Our theory has always been two-fold: The board makeup isn’t the problem and the system of appointing may yield more skilled board members who have a heart for the schools.

Email newsletter signup

But perhaps it’s time to change our direction.

We say that not because we necessarily feel having school board members become more politically motivated is the answer, but instead because the perennial debate clouds the real issues facing the troubled school district.

If eliminating another excuse will help the community focus on ways to truly help the district and stay on task; then let’s switch to an elected board.

To be clear, however, the schools have not consistently received failing marks on statewide testing because the school board members are appointed rather than elected.

Problems facing the district are much deeper and less easy to fix than simply swapping out board members.

The most glaring challenge is that few people — black, white, rich or poor — consistently support the district.

We hire superintendent after superintendent and then quickly get unhappy with his performance and cast him aside and seek a new leader.

The cycle has gone on to the point that finding good leaders in the future is going to be difficult — regardless of how we select school board members.

Switching to elected board members is fine, so long as we all realize doing so alone won’t make our schools jump from F marks to As.