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School board members should be elected

Adams County Supervisor Wes Middleton is right.

“I’m a strong believer in anybody who has the power to levy taxes needs to be an elected position,” Middleton said Monday in a meeting that culminated with a 2.03 mil tax increase for Adams County taxpayers.

Adams County Supervisors had little choice than to accept the increase after the Natchez-Adams School District submitted its annual budget request.

The request was for $14,237,156 and could be broken down into two separate parts — one for the district’s annual budget and another for the purpose of building a new high school.

Because the total request is within the bounds set by state law, the county had no choice but to accept the request.

In the past school district representatives have taken pains to stress that despite the belief that the school board controls how much people pay in taxes, all they do is make a request. They contend that county supervisors are the ones who vote to accept the request and, in turn, set the millage.

Such talk is splitting hairs as far as we are concerned. School officials know full well how much money they request each year has a direct impact on the pocketbooks of taxpayers.

Call it what they will, school board members have the power to levy taxes. And that is too much power for an appointed position.  Such a position requires oversight only the voters can provide at the ballot box.

The governing bodies of Natchez and Adams County have gone on record seeking to change the school board to an elected body. The vast majority of residents want elected school board members. Unfortunately, members of the legislature have refused to act.

School board positions need to be elected. What do we need to do to make it happen?

Supervisor Kevin Wilson said, “at some point somebody is going to have to do something” about the issue.

We couldn’t agree more.