State News

Bill for more elected BESE members rejected

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Posted: Apr 23, 2014 4:38 PM
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: BESE, education, governor, appointee

BATON ROUGE - An effort to make more of the state education board's members elected by the public, rather than appointed by the governor, failed to win support Wednesday in the House and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Currently, eight members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are elected from individual districts around the state, and three are appointed by the governor.

Rep. Brett Geymann's constitutional change (House Bill 374) would have reconfigured the board so that two of the governor's appointments would have become at-large seats elected by voters statewide. The governor would have maintained one appointment.

"Parents want to have a voice, and I think this is one way we can do that," said Geymann, R-Lake Charles.

He said parents have complained that BESE members haven't responded to their concerns about the Common Core education standards.

Opponents of the bill said they didn't necessarily believe that having elected members would make BESE members more responsive to the public. They said the current model is a balanced approach to overseeing education policy for the state.

"I kind of like the ability for the governor to have some say because he represents the whole state," said Rep. Greg Miller, R-Norco.

The committee voted 6-2 against the bill, stalling it in committee.

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