State school board member Jackie Zeigler of Mobile is an outspoken opponent of the effort to change from an elected to an appointed state school board.
So much so that she is challenging the wording in the constitutional amendment that will be voted on March 3.
Here is the proposed wording of what will appear on the ballot asking for a yes or no vote:
“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to change the name of the State Board of Education to the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education; to provide for the appointment of the members of the commission by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate; to change the name of the State Superintendent of Education to the Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education; to provide for the appointment of the secretary of the commission, subject to the confirmation by the Senate; and to authorize the Governor to appoint a team of local educators and other officials to advise the commission on matters relating to the functioning and duties of the State Department of Education. . . .”
However, Zeigler contends that this language fails to clearly state that if this amendment is approved, voters will lose their right to vote on state school board members. She has failed a complaint with the state’s Fair Ballot Commission that will discuss the situation at a Nov. 21 meeting in Montgomery. This will take place at 2 p.m. in room 200 of the Alabama State House.
“The wording masks the vital elimination of a board elected by the people and accountable to the people,” says Zeigler. “Instead, it highlights a name change of the board and the state superintendent.”
She also contends that the proposed language violates Alabama code 17-6-41 which states: “Whenever a constitutional amendment is submitted to a vote of the qualified electors the substance or subject matter of each proposed amendment shall be so printed that the nature thereof shall be clearly indicated.”
Stay tuned. We will cover the meeting.