Who’s really in charge of your local schools?
A COVID-19 related situation that just occurred in the Jessamine County school system has me raising a host of questions.
“The Jessamine County Board of Education voted 3-2 Monday night to begin the 2020-2021 school year on Aug. 26th with the options of in-person instruction or enrollment in a Virtual Learning Academy.”
Apparently, almost immediately after the vote, the Jessamine County Superintendent, Matt Moore, decided he had the authority to forget about opening schools for in-person instruction and to only offer distance learning, often called Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) in Kentucky, for the first two weeks of school.
This situation raises a lot of questions. Just for starters:
- Does a superintendent have the authority to over-ride the vote of the locally elected school board?
- If so, do taxpayers and citizens really have any authority over their schools?
- Does this turn “local control” on its ear?
- Is the legitimacy of local school taxation threatened if locally elected officials who create those taxes can have their voted-for policies overturned in this manner?
Note that Jessamine County’s school year isn’t even going to begin until almost the end of the month. There is plenty of time for the local school board to call an emergency meeting for the superintendent to make his case for NTI only. But, if the local board still votes the same way they did on August 3, 2020, what happens then?
Who’s in charge here?
What do you think?