Members of the South Carolina House voted 70-38 Tuesday to create a public referendum on whether the state’s school superintendent should be appointed. That position is currently elected. The measure failed for lack of two-thirds majority vote.
Lee County Representative Grady Brown and other Democrats said the issue is about allowing a voucher system to take over public education. Richland County Democrat Jim Bales pointed out to Brown that one referendum had already been voted on by South Carolina citizens and that they had rejected the idea of an appointed superintendent. “I guess if you don’t get the answer you want the first time, you just keep asking the question,” said Bales.
The House voted last week for a similar referenum on the position of Secretary of State. Similar constitutional amendments, supported by Governor Mark Sanford, have commonly been stopped in the state Senate.
Brown asked sarcastically why not just have all statewide positions appointed. He jokingly suggested that even members of the General Assembly should be appointed by members of local county councils. Darlington County Democrat Denny Neilsen spoke to Brown as he held the floor.
(Brown on Superintendent referendum MP3 2:17)
Brown on superindent referendum