Moss Point voters will soon be electing their school board’s members.
Rep. Jeramey Anderson, D-Moss Point, filed an amendment to Senate Bill 2463 that will replace the current appointment system for Moss Point School Board members with an election process.
Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law Wednesday.
For years, Moss Point’s mayor and Board of Aldermen appointed school board members. Anderson in a news release called the process “unaccountable” and “disconnected from the community.”
“It’s a disservice to our students to not have leadership that is completely invested in their academic experience,” he said. “I feel like every political subdivision should be accountable to the people they serve. It’s time that the people have input as to who serves on their school board.”
Last year, the state gave the district a grade of D in its annual accountability results, the lowest in South Mississippi.
The school district must meet several education requirements to stave off a state takeover, or conservatorship. Superintendent Shannon Vincent, appointed two years ago, has vowed to turn the district around. The district has shown gradual improvement in graduation rates, attendance and testing comprehension scores.
The school board will continue to appoint the district superintendent. A separate bill signed last year requires all school superintendents to be appointed rather than elected.
Anderson is planning a special town hall meeting next week to discuss the changes.
“I’m optimistic that this new election process will provide the Moss Point School Board with stability and solid leadership that will allow our schools to reach their full potential,” he said. “Change is difficult but it’s not something we can afford to fear.”
The law will go into effect July 1. Moss Point has 45 days after that to draw up five voting district lines.
The first round of elections for districts 1, 3 and 5 will be in the city’s Nov. 7 municipal elections. District 2 and 4 elections will take place in November 2018.
School board qualifications will not change with the new election process. The term for a school board member will remain four years.