Saturday, November 18, 2017
Florida News

Should Florida's school superintendents be elected or appointed?

RECOMMENDED READING


When it comes to selecting school district superintendents, Florida stands apart from most of the nation by allowing voters to choose.

Forty-four of the state's 67 districts have elected superintendents, with most of the large, urban systems opting for a school board-appointed leader instead. To put that in context, only Alabama and Mississippi also have elected superintendents, and Mississippi recently passed a law ending that practice.

The issue often becomes passionate and political, with local Florida electorates frequently choosing to stick with their elected leaders when things are running smoothly, but advocating for change when their districts face troubles. Martin County voters, who have defeated change four times in 30 years, will again consider the question in 2018.

Before that referendum takes place, though, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission will debate whether to put a permanent end to the elected superintendent position.

Commissioner Erika Donalds, a Collier County School Board member, has proposed amending the constitution so all superintendents are appointed by their boards, effective November 2020. 

"Our communities deserve school leaders that are focuses on excellence and not politics," Donalds said. "The nature of elected superintendents ensures the majority of applicants have no experience."

Not only that, she said, the elected model limits potential superintendents to county residents. Someone with vast experience could live five minutes outside the district and not be eligible without moving.

Donalds further observed that the elected superintendent has his or her own political base, separate from the board that is charged with setting policy for the district. She pointed to Jefferson County, recently taken over by a charter school operator because of persistently low test performance, and noted how its board members told lawmakers their elected superintendent regularly ignored their votes.

"We've seen that happen in various districts," Donalds said.

Of course, the opposite situation can occur. Power hungry school board members easily can dominate an appointed superintendent with threats of dismissal, for instance.

"You could find pluses and minuses on both sides," Donalds said. "You have to balance the two."

The Constitution Revision Commission Education Committee plans to discuss education governance issues when it meets at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Tallahassee.

Comments
Tampa couple recounts wrong-way DUI crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway

Tampa couple recounts wrong-way DUI crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway

TAMPA — Police arrested a 26-year-old man they say drove the wrong way while drunk and caused a multi-vehicle crash that injured several people late Friday on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.Collin John Cole faces two counts of driving under the influ...
Updated: 3 minutes ago
Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State had not scored more than 30 points this season before facing Delaware State. The Seminoles accomplished that early in the second quarter Saturday and didn’t let up in a 77-6 rout. The 71-point win is the second-highest ma...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI GARDENS — The undefeated season was slipping away, and so was any realistic chance Miami had of getting into the College Football Playoff and competing for a national championship. That is, until seven seconds changed everything. Just like tha...
Updated: 1 hour ago
No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

PHILADELPHIA — McKenzie Milton threw four touchdowns and ran for a score as No. 14 Central Florida comfortably took care of business against Temple, winning 45-19 Saturday to stay unbeaten heading into a showdown with rival USF. The Knights (10-0, 7-...
Updated: 1 hour ago
AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64

AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64

Malcolm Young, the AC/DC co-founder whose brash guitar riffs, tight songwriting and live-wire personality defined an era of rock ‘n’ roll, has died. He was 64.AC/DC announced his death on its Facebook page Saturday. The time, location and cause of hi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
On the night shift in Seminole Heights, Tampa police keep watch for a killer

On the night shift in Seminole Heights, Tampa police keep watch for a killer

TAMPA — Tampa Police Lt. Gary Neal is almost halfway into his shift when the shots ring out.He jumps into his white 2016 Dodge Charger and races the few blocks from District 3 headquarters to the scene of a drive-by shooting in a city rattled by a sp...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Boater missing in waters north of Bradenton, dog found alive

Boater missing in waters north of Bradenton, dog found alive

CORTEZ — The Coast Guard and others are scouring the waters near Mead Point, just inland from Anna Maria Island, for a 63-year-old boater who has been missing since Friday evening. Fraser Horne, from Cortez, left Egmont Key on his 30-foot boat, Golde...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

TAMPA — Can the Bucs pull off back-to-back wins with a backup quarterback? Win a game on the road for the first time this season? Politely hand the unnamed trophy for the state’s worst football team back to the Dolphins?Mike Evans is back from his su...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

In the crowd-pleasing sports-talk of game of "Who Would You Rather Have?’’ there might not be a more perfect match-up than this.Gerald McCoy vs. Ndamukong Suh.Both are defensive tackles. Both went to, what were at the time, Big 12 schools. Both were ...
Updated: 6 hours ago