Bill to appoint county school superintendents to be considered by State House

school education

Alabamians may soon lose their say in county school superintendents, as a bill in the state legislature takes the power away from voters and puts it into the hands of local boards of education.

Sponsored by Montgomery-Republican state Sen. Dick BrewbakerSB280 would require all county superintendents to be appointed by the county board of education rather than elected by local residents.

Currently, 37 — Autauga, Bibb, Blount, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Conecuh, Coosa, DeKalb, Dale, Elmore, Fayette, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Pickens, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair, Tallapoosa, Walker, Washington, and Winston — of the state’s 137 superintendents are elected.

Eagle Forum of Alabama has come out in opposition to the bill.

“This legislation will have two horrible impacts on local education.  First SB280 will force over fifty percent of the Alabama counties to stop holding free elections,” the group said online. “Counties that hold elections for County Superintendent of Education will be forced to have the local board of education handpick the County Superintendent. SB280 removes current rights from local education leaders and parents who live in the county.”

Despite the opposition, Brewbaker’s legislation isn’t coming from out of left field. Aside from Alabama, only Mississippi and Florida allow school superintendents to be elected.

The Senate passed the legislation on March 3. The bill is on the proposed special order calendar in the State House for Tuesday.