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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Duval takes step toward an appointed school board



We've heard the debate here in Florida over whether a school district should elect or appoint its superintendent. Pasco County notably has rejected moving toward an appointed leader, while Lake County recently couldn't wait to move away from an elected one.

We've also watched Orange County grapple with the issue of whether to elect or appoint its School Board chairman.

But the discussion has not really veered into the area of mayoral control of the schools in Florida, unlike some in other states where big districts — NYC, LA and Chicago among them — have yielded control of the schools to city politicians.

Until now, that is.

Duval County's charter review panel is recommending that the local school board — an elected body of constitutional officers — become an arm of the mayor's office. One of the ideas the panel is promoting would have the board members appointed by the mayor, approved by the city council and then sworn in for a job that no longer pays a salary, the Florida Times Union reports.

Such a switch would require voters to back it.

Panel members say the change is necessary because Duval schools are failing children, and "we should do something."

The question is, would moving control of the school district from independently elected representatives to appointees of City Hall give schools more, or less, opportunity to make the reforms needed to improve? We've seen examples good and bad in New York, D.C. and other places. Your thoughts? 

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:50am]


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