The Escambia County School Board voted 4-1 to move forward a proposal that would allow Escambia County voters the opportunity to decide whether to change the method the superintendent of schools is selected. If approved, the new measure would call for the Escambia County School Board to appoint the superintendent of schools. District Five board member Bill Slayton was the lone vote against the proposal.
In explaining the proposal, current Superintendent of Schools Malcolm Thomas stated that he had committed to bringing this proposal forward after announcing that he would not be seeking a fourth term. Thomas explained that voting on this during the 2018 elections would allow the district to prepare for whatever the outcome of the vote. If the voters decide to keep the current system of an elected superintendent, then nothing changes. If voters choose to go to an appointed superintendent, then the school board would have two years to find that person while Thomas serves out the remainder of his term. Thomas also said that putting the proposal on the November 2018 general election ballot would allow for the greatest number of Escambia County voters to express their desire.
Thomas did raise a caution that the county commission or Supervisor of Elections David Stafford might not allow the proposal because of the lengthy ballot this year. The general election ballot will be longer than normal due to the thirteen proposed constitutional amendments that will also be on the ballot.
The elected vs. appointed school superintendent proposal now goes to the county commission for their approval before it can be placed on the ballot.