We must change ‘Natchez way’

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, February 20, 2019

If you want to see clearly why we need an elected school board in Natchez and Adams County, look no further than the political farce that just unfolded in Jackson.

Despite unanimous support from the community’s two elected government entities, bills that would change the manner in which public school board members are selected were allowed to die before even coming to a vote.

Currently, Natchez-Adams School Board members are appointed and for years, locals have attempted to convert the system to allow school board members to be elected.

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Publicly, everyone was in favor of the change — or at least so they said.

Such a conversion makes sense because school board members can effectively raises taxes — up to a limit — whenever they want without direct responsibilities to voters.

But at least a handful of people, apparently, people with political connections have nixed the deal in Jackson, effectively putting a “fix” on the deal.

So who are the culprits who caused the issue to never make it out of committee?

The most obvious suspects are members of the current school board who simply don’t want to lose their perceived power.

We found it curious that Natchez Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis did not wish to comment on the matter after the bills were killed. If she were truly hopeful the bills would pass, wouldn’t she express disappointment?

While it’s easy to blame the likely suspects, ultimately the reason this issue has gone nowhere is that our community hasn’t truly decided it wants to change from the “Natchez way” of doing things.

When we elect and appoint the same people over and over again, why would we expect their behavior and motives to change?