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Should we elect our directors of schools?

Johnson City Press • Updated Feb 17, 2019 at 11:29 PM

Since 1992, directors of schools in Tennessee have been appointed by the elected members of school boards.

But according to the work of Press Senior Reporter Robert Houk earlier this month, the General Assembly is set to consider legislation creating retention elections for the position that would give voters control over whether their district's directors' contracts will be extended.

With an up or down vote, the people living within the bounds of a school district could send their director packing and trigger the school board to begin searching for a replacement.

Even the filers of the bill, Sen. Delores Gresham and our own Rep. Micah Van Huss, say this bill is probably the first step toward reverting the director selection process back to a public election.

Johnson City Sen. Rusty Crowe, who sits on the chamber's Education Committee, told the Press he believes many of his constituents in “rural communities feel there isn’t enough balance between schools directors and parents and teachers as there is now with school board members.”

When the Legislature handed control of the selection process to school boards more than 25 years ago, lawmakers said they did so to remove politics from the important education position and to bring more professionalism to the office.

It's an important issue that governs how our children will be educated, so we want to put the question to you.

Should our directors of schools be elected? What, if anything, do you think should change about the way they're hired?

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