Education Panel Backs Bill to Elect Superintendent

Widely viewed as a slap at Superintendent John White, the House Education Committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment to make the top education official’s job an elected office. With most Democrats voting yea and Republicans voting nay, the 9-7 vote sends HB 125 to the House floor, where it will need a two-thirds majority. The author, Rep. Joe Harrison, R-Napoleonville, said that the current superintendent was officially hired by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education but was effectively chosen by Gov. Bobby Jindal. “They didn’t even take applications,” he said. “They (voters) need to have a voice.”

The bill was opposed by the Jindal administration, BESE chairman Chas Roemer and Council for a Better Louisiana official Stephanie Desselle. She warned that having an elected superintendent and an elected board could be unworkable. “Who would answer to whom?” she asked.

The same proposed constitutional amendment was offered last year, but did not clear the Senate.

Issue 1207

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