State Superintendent and Board Member React to Proposed Bill that Would Stop Election of State Board of Education Members

Alabama is among six states with an elected state school board and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says it is time to convert it from an elected board to a commission appointed by the governor.

“We have got to take this governance serious. It’s nothing personal against any elected state school board member but if you look at the grades and the stats we’re not getting the job done,” says Marsh.

Marsh insists that states with governor-appointed school boards perform better. State school board member Stephanie Bell disagrees.

“Teachers want to have a voice. They are part of that electorate. I just think it’s important to preserve the right of the people to vote for their state board of education representatives,” says Bell.

“The problem is this – people go to the polls and they have a choice before them. Many times they have no idea of an individual if they are competent or not – not by saying they’re not but they don’t really know the background of the people they are voting for,” says Bell.

If the bill is approved, the public will vote on the constitutional amendment. But for some people, that is just not enough.

“That’s not good for the community at large. We as a community need to come together and stick together for one common goal so it should be a collective ideal with all parties,” says Lakeshia Perkins, a Montgomery resident.

State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey could also be impacted. The bill would replace his position as a Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“I feel like I have committed a great deal of my time and effort this year to improving opportunities for our students across the state and I’m committed to doing that next year and the year after and on an on,” says Mackey.

Current leaders, like bell say her fellow board members have always been focused on education, despite what others may think.

“So much of the interference has come from outside in trying to allow us to do our jobs,” says Bell.

Again, if the bill is approved, the public would vote on it as a constitutional amendment. If voters do agree to it, a new governor appointed commission, would appoint the Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education.


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