Vote Yes for Escambia Schools.

Let’s Take the Politics Out of Education

Appointing Our Superintendent Just Makes Sense

It’s clear we are behind. Forty-eight of the 50 states have abolished the elected superintendent format. Only Florida and Alabama still allow it, and both states have proposed bills to end the practice.

Starting Jan. 1, 2019, when Mississippi officially abolishes the practice of electing its superintendents, only 81 of the 13,657 school districts in the United States – less than 1 percent – will be electing its superintendent.

There’s proof that the elected format doesn’t work. Of the 15 lowest performing counties in 2018 according to the Florida Department of Education, 14 have elected superintendents. Escambia is in that group, ranking 53rd of 67 Florida counties in 2018.

Within Florida, 26 of the 67 counties have already made the switch including every county with a significant population. Of the 15 lowest performing counties in Florida, Escambia (313,000) has more than triple the population of the next largest county on the list. (Highlands County, 102,000).

Here are some more facts that make an appointed superintendent the key to the future of our school district:

  • Escambia County is the second largest county in Florida that still implements an elected superintendent. Only Pasco County, just north of Tampa, has a larger population.
  • Of the 15 lowest performing school districts in the state of Florida, Escambia County has more than triple the population of the next largest underperforming county. Escambia has 313,000 people while Highlands County has 102,000.
  • The prerequisite to run as an elected superintendent require NO experience in education. It requires “that the person must not be convicted of a felony or be adjudicated mentally incompetent, and must live in the school district they wish to represent.” That’s it.
  • As of 2014, 53.8 percent of the appointed superintendent held a doctorate degree (14 of 26). Only 2 of the 42 elected superintendents held doctorate degrees.
  • An appointed superintendent can be dismissed by the school board or for not meeting terms in the hiring contract. With an elected superintendent, the board can not dismiss the superintendent, only the Governor of Florida can.
  • An elected superintendent can not be removed for failing to carry out a school board policy – essentially creating a “Boss Hogg” at the top of the school board that had no checks and balances. An appointed superintendent can be removed for not carrying out school board policy.
  • As the rules stand now, if the best possible candidate for the job lived 100 feet into Santa Rosa or Baldwin County, 15 minutes or less from our downtown, they are not eligible unless they move.

Isn’t it time we make a change? Join us and Vote Yes for Appointed Superintendent on Your General Election Ballot.