MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WTVY) - Alabama voters have a crucial decision to make: whether to keep an elected state school board or allow the governor to appoint those members.
“The purpose of what we’re trying to do is put some accountability right where it needs to be, on the shoulders of the governor,” Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) argues.
Constitutional Amendment One would authorize the governor to appoint board members. The state Senate would have to confirm those appointments.
That perturbs opponents of the measure.
“The state Senate is going to be running the schools of Alabama. The real bottom line is education doesn’t trust the legislature to do what’s in the best interest of our public schools ” said public education advocate Larry Lee.
Lee also argues that state lawmakers have a history of reducing education spending.
“They cut retirement benefits for new teachers. This group of legislators from 2009 until 2018 cut funding for the Alabama Reading Initiative by 36 percent,” Lee claims.
Alabama public schools rank 49th in the nation, according to a 2019 article published by U.S. News and World Report.
Albritton said that 30 percent of public school graduates need remediation when heading to college. He predicts change for the better if voters approve Amendment One.
Albritton believes that the state school board will be more productive if members have expertise in education issues and are not politicians.
“(Students) coming into the system and those already in the system will have an opportunity for improvement,” he told WTVY.
Board members would be limited to two six-year terms.
The legislature approved the constitutional amendment last year, sending the measure to voters.