School board member selection questioned

School board member selection questioned
School board member selection questioned

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - "When the legislature tells me that I have to approve a tax increase from a body that is unelected I got a serious problem with that," said Hattiesburg City Council President Kim Bradley on Monday.

The body Bradley is referring to is the Hattiesburg School Board.

"Over the last two years the city council has been asked to rubber stamp, or approve the school board's request, and a funding request means an increase in millage and an increase in taxes that are imposed on the citizens of the city of Hattiesburg, or in the Hattiesburg School District," said Bradley.

State law has the millage cap at 55 and Hattiesburg has already exceeded that, now at 63. Bradley says two years ago he and a council member  tried to discuss ways to cut back with the school board.

"They were not interest in our discussion. We were told that they had seen cuts before and this was an opportunity that they were going to get what they were due," said Bradley.

Bradley says any body imposing taxes needs to be held accountable, through elections and doing away with appointments.

"People actually run for the office. They are serving at the will of the people, and therefore they are held accountable four years later when they have to run again,"said Bradley.

Senator Joey Fillingane agrees.

"I definitely think with school board members it makes ultimate sense for them to be elected, because then they answer directly to the public, and if they go crazy on the millage rates or things like that and cost tax payers a lot of money then they are directly accountable the next election cycle," said Fillingane.

The council will soon vote to approve school board members who are currently serving on expired terms. Bradley says he is waiting to vote until he has some much needed answers.

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