Should superintendent be hired?

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 09:41 AM.

A school board member last week asked colleagues to consider placing a measure before voters that could end the direct election of the superintendent of schools, who would instead be hired by a vote of the school board.

Pam Shiver, now in the second year of her first term on the board, on March 6 shared with the board a written outline that asked them to consider the pros and cons of having a hired, rather than an elected, superintendent.

“I basically want to do a study on this, and that’s something that has to be done quickly,” she said, asking that her fellow school board members begin discussion of the proposal at their April 3 meeting.

If a majority of the board votes to place the matter on the November ballot, it would then require a vote by the county commissioners to place the referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot. If a majority of county voters support the measure, it would then go into effect after Superintendent Nina Marks completes her term in 2016. First elected in Nov. 2008, Marks was re-elected in 2012 without opposition.

In her opening remarks, Shiver indicated she was moving forward with her proposal now because it was well in advance of when possible candidacies would surface ahead of the Nov. 2016 election.

“Franklin County has been fortunate to have a highly qualified representative in our superintendent position in terms of the past, and also in the current seat,” Shiver said. “The nature of this study is to consider options that will allow for a broader pool of qualified candidates to be considered as the CEO of our school system, based solely on professional qualifications and leadership skill.

“Our superintendent has done an exemplary job in her but has voiced her lack of desire to run for an additional term,” she said. “The process is not intended to undermine the control of the local voter but to enhance the ability to choose the best candidate whose qualifications are currently limited to county borders.”

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