Changes possibly coming for superintendent position

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – How would you feel about an appointed school superintendent instead of an elected one?

The Bay County Chamber of Commerce is raising the question, hoping to generate some discussion of the idea.

Business leaders said improving local schools is crucial to the area. They want to see a better education system.

“We rank 156 out of 157 Air Force installations around the world and that’s not acceptable,” Chris Moore Bay County Chamber Military Affairs Committee Chair said. “We need to do more for our students, our constituency, and the chamber.”

Moore and other chamber members said they are researching the pros and cons of appointed superintendents. But no decisions are final just yet.

“Looking at the data from across the nation and across the state of Florida and seeing how school districts do whether they have an elected one or an appointed one,” Moore said.

After speaking with the current Superintendent Bill Husfelt, he said he wants the people to decide what their opinions are.

“I don’t think you’d want an appointed sheriff or any other appointed official,” Husfelt said. ‘Communities like ours like to know the people like to meet the people and like to have a conversation with them when they need to. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens, the chamber has tried to do this before. And the citizens overwhelmingly voted it down.”

Husfelt believes an appointed superintendent will make decisions based on please school board members rather than what’s best for students. 

It will be up to school board members, like Bay District School Board Chair Pamm Chapman, to decide if they want to pursue this path.

“I do think when it comes down to it, how strong is your community to fill the seats of the board members to make those decisions,” Chapman said.

The last time this issue went to a vote was in the 1990s.

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