for Okaloosa Schools.
Because Our Children Deserve Better.
Myths and Facts About Appointed Supervisor of Schools
MYTH: The Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools can be removed by the School Board
FACT: No one in Okaloosa County, including the School Board, can do anything to stop a Superintendent of Schools who underperforms, fails to perform, fails to report or fails to address issues which endanger our children and cost the taxpayers millions of their tax dollars. Only the Governor of Florida can remove an elected superintendent.
MYTH: I will lose my vote – and thus my input – if we have an Appointed Superintendent.
FACT: Voters elect the School Board, and the School Board would not be allowed to select the Superintendent without ample opportunities for input from the voters.
Voters would have many opportunities to make their voices heard – via public hearings;
A Voters Advisory Council on Superintendent Selection which would recommend candidates to the School Board; through one-on-one or group interaction with individual School Board members.
MYTH: There will still be politics involved in selecting an Appointed Superintendent.
FACT: Appointing a Superintendent takes the Electoral politics out of education leadership. Appointing a Superintendent would eliminate the quid pro quo common in Electoral politics.
MYTH: Appointing a Superintendent means an outsider will run our school district.
FACT: If the Superintendent is appointed, virtually all county residents can still apply for the position. Appointing the Superintendent makes the position one where understanding the challenges our schools face, leadership experience, and academic credentials will be more important than the ability or connections to raise campaign funds and run an effective political campaign.
MYTH: If the School Board fires the Appointed Superintendent, the district-meaning the taxpayers-have to buy out the Superintendent’s entire contract.
FACT: It depends on the contract. However, the standard contract in Florida provides only 90 days of severance pay for a fired Superintendent, unless the Superintendent is found to have violated certain statutes related to running the district and then no severance pay is required.
MYTH: Under the appointment method, the choice of the leader of our school district would fall to five people, the School Board, instead of roughly 130,000 voters.
FACT: The School Board would not make the decision alone. Florida counties that Appoint their Superintendents have detailed policies and procedures for selecting the Superintendent, including public hearings, Voter Advisory Councils, search committees, one on one or group interaction with the School Board, etc. It is a lengthy process where voters can give their input directly to those selecting the Appointed Superintendent.
MYTH: Popular elections include a thorough process to screen candidates for the Elected Superintendent.
FACT: Only 29% of registered voters voted in the 2016 election for Superintendent of Schools. Candidate forums were poorly attended. As in most elections, the candidate who spent the most money – not the candidate who was most thoroughly screened – won. You know about the ensuing scandal and the rest of the story.
MYTH: My kids are grown, so I am not really affected by what happens in our school district.
FACT: The vast majority of the services, utilities, restaurants, stores and businesses we patronize everyday are staffed by graduates of our school system. A well-run school system provides us with a steady stream of individuals who will help our local economy thrive. If you enjoy being provided quality service by quality employees of the local organizations you patronize, remember that the place that they first learned these skills to provide quality service is in our school system.
MYTH: Individual agendas of School Board members will undermine an Appointed Superintendent.
FACT: The School Board cannot take action against the Superintendent unless three of the five members agree- a very high bar. Furthermore, School Board policy can be written to require a supermajority to select or fire a superintendent. Board members cannot collude outside of Board meetings without violating Florida’s Sunshine Laws. The School Board would have to explain to their “bosses”-the Voters-why they are undermining the Superintendent.
MYTH: Appointing the Superintendent eliminates checks and balances in the School District.
FACT: As our recent scandals showed, there are currently no checks and balances on the elected Superintendent’s power except by the voters every four years or if a politician in Tallahassee decides to act. However, an Appointed Superintendent is employed under a contract with the School Board and if the Superintendent fails or underperforms, the School Board can fire the Superintendent AT ANY TIME.
MYTH: School Board members, who would appoint the Superintendent, have no better insight into what the District needs than the voters do.
FACT: School Board Members spend hundreds of hours each year preparing for and attending School Board Meetings, Workshops, School Events, and other activities. They carefully examine detailed legal, personnel, financial, and operational data. They are advised by an attorney at every meeting and they routinely review personnel and financial matters. They are the most informed citizens about district matters, elected by the voters, and in a unique position to make weighty judgements on what our district needs, or lacks, in leadership.