Legislation has moved atop the South Carolina Senate’s agenda that would make the state education superintendent’s position a gubernatorial appointment rather than a statewide elected office as it is now.
The bill’s sponsor State Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, said there is growing consensus about placing required experience standards for the office. “Now it requires no qualifications whatsoever,” Hembree said in Tuesday’s debate. “That’s where we are living right now, other than someone who can get more votes than someone else.
The proposed bill was set for special order on Tuesday, moving it to the top of the agenda for contested legislation.
“As a post appointed by the governor, the Senate would have final say if the appointment would get the position with an up-or-down vote on the appointee,” Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “As a whole, we’d make the determination as to whether the person is qualified for the job of leading, managing a very large agency.”
Questions on what the professional educational qualifications and requirements will be taken up as debate continues since there are currently no requirements for the position other than winning an election.
Current elected state Education Superintendent Molly Spearman, a Republican, is in favor of changing from a statewide elected office to a gubernatorial appointment with Senate approval.