Superintendent of Schools: Elected or Appointed???

 The issue is not what is on the ballot.  The real issue is what is not on the ballot and what has been kept off the ballot.  For example, in some races I can vote either for a Democrat Crook or a Republican Crook.  Without third party choices, that is not much of a choice for me.  To be fair, there are a few races where there is both a qualified Democrat and a qualified Republican. 

   The issue of education is a critical issue for Americans in the 21st. Century.  On the ballot in the November 2, 2010, election is Constitutional Amendment 8.  You can vote either a yes or no on this amendment.  However, both a yes vote, and a no vote, impact the teachers in our state system.  Where on the ballot can the People vote to modify the salaries or the number of educational administrators (bureaucrats) in our state system?  The answer is that  this issue is not on the ballot for a vote and it should be.

   Where on the ballot can the People of Volusia County go to decide if we should have an elected or an appointed superintendent?  Again, the answer is that this issue is not on the ballot and it needs to be.

   Florida State Law designates each of the 67 counties in Florida as school districts.  No matter how big or how small a county is in population, it is a school district.  No matter how big or how small a county is in geographic area, it is a school district.  State Law is silent on how the county school superintendent is selected.  At last count, my research indicated that there were 39 counties that elected their superintendent by direct vote of the People.  There were 28 counties that allowed their school board to appoint the superintendent.  This essay addresses the question of which is better: an elected or an appointed superintendent.  To be fair, before I give my opinion, backed by my research, there have been several counties that have switched from appointed to elected superintendents.  Also, there have been several counties that have switched from elected to appointed superintendents.    And finally there is one county that seems to change its mind every few years.  But the absolute worst choice is not to give the voters a choice in superintendent selection method. 

   I am a retired teacher of mathematics and I have nothing to gain or lose in how a superintendent is selected. ( I mean no personal gain to me and no personal loss to me.)  However, as an advocate of clean, open, honest, and efficient government I believe that I have a great deal to gain or lose in the method of superintendent selection. 

   Over a thirty year period, I have researched this issue.  ( OK, it may be a strange hobby, but I do not drink, smoke, or use drugs.  So permit me this rather unusual hobby.)   Being  a mathematician and a research psychologist, it seemed logical to set up a scale.  I did, and I shall spare my readers the statistics that were generated.  Most of the data was objective ( about 80%), but some of the data (about 20%) required some subjective judgements on my part.  Each school district earned a score. My rating scale to which the data was applied was as follows: 1) Highly efficient, 2) Efficient, 3) Average, 4)Not efficient, and 5) Highly inefficient.  It turnrd out that 31 out of the 39 districts with elected superintendents were rated as highly efficient or efficient.  Restated, 79.5% of the districts with elected superintendents were rated highly.  Of the appointed superintendents, 7 out of 28 were rated as highly efficient or efficient.  Restated, 25% of the districts with appointed superintendents were rated highly.

   An elected superintendent serves the public interests best ( 79.5% of the time). Surprisingly, an elected superintendent is less political ( 79.5% of the time). It appears that an elected superintendent gets to work to serve the People.  An appointed superintendent gets to work to serve the school board and to act as a cheerleader for the Board Medmbers. 

   Under an elected superintendent, buses run on time and classes start on time, and buildings get built on time.  Under an appointed superintendent most things do not happen on time.  Don’t believe me?  Just take a look at cost over runs in building construction! 

    I would be glad to debate any reliable individual, in Public, if this issue gets placed upon the ballot where it belongs.  I suggest that the People need to decide the issue of appointed or elected superintendent for Volusia in a countywide election.  Each side, no doubt, will attempt to spin the facts their way and distort the issue.  However, I am confident that the Public will make the correct choice when this issue gets placed on the ballot.       R. Van Conoley.   (sanityandsense.com)

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One Response to Superintendent of Schools: Elected or Appointed???

  1. R. Van Conoley says:

    Choice is a wonderful thing. I believe that Volusia County will soon have a competing orgaization to balance the one-sided teacher’s union. R. Van Conoley

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