Clay County Commission Passes School Superintendent Ballot Measure

Aug 28, 2014

A contentious measure on how the Clay County School Superintendent is chosen cleared a final hurdle Thursday on its way to the ballot.

Credit Clay County Schools

Members of the Clay County Commission unanimously passed a resolution for the question of whether the superintendent should be elected or appointed to be placed on the November 4 ballot. Commissioner Diane Hutchings was not present for the vote.

The Clay County School Board voted in July to put the issue to the voters this fall, then sent the measure on to the County Commission to include it on the ballot, as required by law.

However, the Commission voted to delay the measure until November 2016, prompting School Board members to take the matter to court.

The battle over the measure has created a rift between some of the members of the School Board and the Commission, but earlier this week a judge ruled in the School Board's favor.

Commission members officially adopted the measure Thursday afternoon during an emergency meeting, but it wasn't without objection.

Commissioner Ronnie Robinson told fellow members he voted to pass the resolution "under protest," stating that he believed the Commission should have been allowed to more time to examine questions raised by the proposal.

"You do need to educate people, because there's a big difference between an elected superintendent and an appointed one," he said. "I'm very proud of our school system. I'm not proud of the way the [school] board conducts itself."

During the meeting, attorney John Devault, who represented the Commission in the case, advised members against appealing the case due to the short period of time before the general elections.

"I don't think an appeal in this case - simply because of the timing - would be effective," Devault said.

The resolution now heads to the ballot and into the hands of voters this November.

You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson.