Ala. school board members react to proposal to get rid of board elections

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State school board members met for the first time Thursday since state lawmakers voted to allow Alabamians to get rid of state school board elections.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – State school board members met for the first time Thursday since state lawmakers voted to allow Alabamians to get rid of state school board elections.

The proposal gives voters the chance to determine in March whether to keep electing school board members or whether to allow the governor to appoint them and the senate confirm them instead.

Jackie Ziegler is a state school board member from the Mobile area. She wants voters to keep electing members.

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“I don’t understand why our legislators think that the citizens did such a great job electing them, but yet we didn’t have enough knowledge to vote our state school boards,” Ziegler said.

Ziegler said during the board meeting that they should share the accomplishments made.

“If I’m not doing my job, they can vote me out,” she said.

Board member Dr. Yvette Richardson said she supports letting the people decide whether they want to keep school board elections.

“I am definitely in favor of putting the entire subject matter to the people for a vote,” Richardson said.

State lawmakers passed the proposal in the first place after looking at the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress scores.

The 2017 scores showed Alabama ranked 50th out of 52nd in 8th grade math. Other scores like 4th grade reading were ranked 40th.

When asked if getting rid of board member elections was the way to raise the test scores, State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said Alabama’s education scores have been improving over the years.

“We are actually growing at twice the rate of the nation,” he said. “All the states are getting better but we are getting better at twice the rate of the national average.”

Voters will make the final decision in March of 2020.

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