To Elect or Appoint a Superintendent?

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Of the 67 Florida school districts, 23 have an appointed superintendent in which the school board, and not the voters, chooses the superintendent.

Not one of these school districts is in the panhandle.

So what is the difference in elected versus appointed superintendents? Bay County citizens have had the right to vote in or out, whoever they want, since the first superintendent began in 1913. But Florida is only one of four states in the country that hasn't changed to appointing that position.

Some advantages of appointing a superintendent are it takes the politics out of the office, and you could get more qualified candidate, or professional administrator.

Some disadvantages of appointing a superintendent are the voters lose direct control over the position, and it takes away the accountability of the superintendent.

So how do Bay County citizens feel about the current system?

Laura Edwards, a Bay County resident, said, "I think the community definitely needs to be involved. It's our children, and that way it's not a one-sided issue, it's not just who the school and school board wants, it's the whole community. "

Others, who are on the appointed system, prefer it that way.

Daniel Schulist, who lives in Arkansas, says, "The voters don't have the knowledge because of all the intricacies of politics to pick the best person; I think somebody in the education field would be more apt to make a wiser choice than us voters. "

Whatever the thoughts and opinions of Bay County citizens, there has been no move to make a change in the system so far.