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Senate Bill 222 takes away voters right to elect school superintendents


Tuesday, the Alabama Legislative Watchdogs and the Shelby County Republican Women issued a statement urging members to contact their state representatives to oppose Senate Bill 222, which takes away voters rights to elect their own school superintendents.

Elected county school superintendents would be replaced by appointed superintendents answerable only to the politicians on the local school boards.

SB222 is sponsored by State Senator Tom Butler, R-Huntsville.

SB222 passed out of the Senate on April 11 on a 19 to 10 vote.

Senators Gudger, Price, Livingston, Orr, Reed, Ward, Chesteen, Jones, Roberts, and Scofield (all Republicans) voted No on the bill.  Butler and Senator President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) formed a bipartisan alliance with the Senate Democrats to pass this bill in the Senate.

The controversial bill has received a favorable report by the House Education Policy committee on an 8 to 4 vote and could be voted on by the full state House of Representatives as early as today.

The conservative groups say in a statement that, “This makes a School Superintendent unaccountable to the people” and that “Elected Superintendents outperform appointed Superintendents on the State Report Card and Accountability Test.”

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The conservative groups argue that, “Most Elected Superintendents are Conservative Republicans – this law is an attempt by the liberal school board association to replace the few conservative Superintendents with more Left Leaning leaders that will endorse and promote Liberal ideas.”

“Elected Superintendents are forced to be engaged in the communities as they will have to answer to constituents. Elected Superintendents create a system of checks and balances with the board; the appointed superintendent must cave to the boards wishes or face termination. To disenfranchise over half of the Alabama Counties is wrong; where does it end; next we will be taking the right to vote away on sheriff or probate judge and allow county commissions to appoint. We should be headed in the other direction; all county superintendents should be elected; the State Superintendent should be elected; this would solve a lot of the problems of the last 20 years and insure that a conservative leader would be in place to lead our State Department of Education.”

The conservative groups argue that appointed = unaccountable “The government closest to the people serves the people best.” ~Thomas Jefferson”

They are urging voters to contact their state representatives immediately to oppose SB222.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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