Will we get an elected school board?

Published 12:01 am Sunday, January 6, 2019

Could this be the year Natchez and Adams County’s education system changes  how school board members are selected?

We certainly hope so.

As lawmakers head to Jackson this week to convene the 2019 Legislature, one of the issues local leaders hope gets attention this year is state permission to change the manner in which Natchez-Adams School Board members are selected from being appointed to being elected.

Currently, the Natchez Board of Aldermen selects three members and the Adams County Board of Supervisors selects two.

We long supported this structure since, theoretically, at least, it allowed the selection of the best and brightest to the school board.

But over time the school board has become disconnected from the community it serves.

The school board’s recent decision to press forward with borrowing millions of dollars to replace and renovate school buildings despite voters handily rejecting the idea underscores the problem.

Last year, a bill that had the unanimous support of the city aldermen and the board of supervisors was never allowed out of a House committee.

The only logical explanation for this was that someone locally had made a big fuss about it. The only people who seem content with the current board setup are members of the current board. If they were the ones that helped kill the bill last year, we urge them to listen to the public’s desire this year and stop fighting.

We hope and pray lawmakers will listen to the will of the people — and their duly elected leaders — when considering the bill to convert school board selection to being elected.

It’s what the people have long sought and it’s what Natchez and Adams County desperately needs.