State Rep. Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville) is calling for an elected Duval County school superintendent.
Fischer had been seeking support for a proposal to let Jacksonville’s mayor appoint members of the Duval County School Board, but on Friday he announced he’s amended that bill to allow for an elected superintendent instead.
“Having a leader directly responsible to the constituents they serve brings more accountability and it brings more oversight, and I think that you get somebody who’s responsive to the needs of the community,” Fischer said in a phone interview.
He said if the Legislature approves his measure, the question of whether to have an elected school superintendent would be decided by a public referendum next year. And if it passes, the election of a school superintendent would be held in 2022 in conjunction with the gubernatorial election.
According to Fischer, his measure would align Duval County with the 41 other Florida counties where the school superintendent is elected.
Isaiah Rumlin, President of the Jacksonville N-double-A-C-P, calls Fischer's idea a power grab by supporters of charter schools and worries it’s part of an effort to hold up a half-cent sales tax referendum until charters are assured of receiving millions of dollars.
“They want almost 200-million dollars off the top of a $1.9 billion capital improvement project for the school board. Public dollars should not be spent for charter schools. These buildings are not owned by the school board; they should not be required to keep these properties up.”
Rumlin says he and his organization plan to wage a campaign against changing to an elected superintendent.
Next year’s 60-day state legislative session gets under way in January.