Bye-Bye State School Board? Alabama Voters Decide In Two Weeks
Governor Kay Ivey's proposal could get rid of the state superintendent's position too
Governor Kay Ivey has said the state’s education leadership needs a bold change, because the current system is not working. Her 2019 proposal would not only get rid of the elected state school board, but state education superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey’s position too.
“I get a lot of questions about would I stay around or would I not stay around” Mackey said Tuesday, “I’m enjoying my job as state superintendent working for the board and, I just show up every day and work as hard as I can”.
When voters head to the polls for Alabama’s primary elections on March 3rd, there will be an amendment to abolish the elected state school board and replace it with an appointed commission.
If residents vote in favor of the bill, a new nine-member education commission would be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Alabama Senate. The superintendent position would replaced with a secretary of education. Mackey says he’s had no discussion with Governor Ivey, to maintain his leadership role under the new overhaul. “It would be up to the new commission to decide what they’d want to do about this new secretary role” Mackey explained.
Last May, the bill to do-away with the existing state school board passed through the Alabama Senate, with a unanimous 30-0 vote, it then went on to the House of Representatives passing with a vote of 78-21. The only vote that matters now though, is when you head to the polls on super Tuesday.
As for the superintendent and the 8 school board members that could soon be out of a job, Mackey says “obviously that’s something that we’re monitoring, but we’re not directly involved in”.
The bill was originally sponsored by Senator Pro Tem Del Marsh, and saw bipartisan support last legislative session. Lawmakers that oppose the bill argue that voters, not the governor, should decide who’s best to represent their students best interests.
Alabama is one of only six states without an appointed board.