School governance takeovers

SCSBA news conference

SCSBA held a news conference at the State House on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, calling on the Senate to remove the provision in Section 59-18-1640 of Senate bill 419 mandating the termination of locally-elected school boards in school districts declared to be in a state of emergency because we believe, based on a recent legal opinion, that this bill in its application could result in a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

  • Click here to download SCSBA’s Legal Opinion Regarding S.419 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
  • Download a summary of the legal issues and data here

We encourage you to contact your Senator directly and urge him/her to remove the school board termination provision in Section 59-18-1640 of Senate bill 419. You can find your senator by clicking here and typing in your physical home address.

SCSBA position statement

SCSBA opposes the takeover of schools, school districts and locally raised revenues and opposes legislative efforts to remove, diminish or interfere with the authority of local governing school district boards.

Rationale: School and district takeovers are very disruptive and the effects of which for communities and schools can be long lasting and difficult to overcome. What ultimately is lost in the takeover debate is the action of suspending local autonomy and democracy by usurping the appropriation of local revenues and eliminating responsibilities of duly elected local school boards. While researchers studying mayoral and state takeovers nationally are divided on the role takeovers have on student achievement, most agree that the role of parents and the community, especially among minority groups, can be marginalized and can further compromise democratic control of schools (Harvard, 2006; Moscovitch et al., 2010; Hess, 2003, 2011). Most found scant evidence that circumventing elected school boards helps solve the problems. In fact, it may disenfranchise the very communities who depend most on strong public schools for their youth.

History: adopted 2018