Because terms of five current members of the state charter school commission expired May 31 and because the final selection of who serves on this board belong to the state board of education, people across Alabama will be closely watching who they pick for these seats in the coming weeks.

All five of these members can be re-appointed.  But should they be?

That answer is easy if they are judged by how they have handled (or fumbled) the charter school mess in Washington County.  Why did they vote 7-2 to approve the application of Woodland Prep in Washington County after the National Association of Charter School Authorizers recommended the application be denied?  Why have they ignored the overwhelming opposition to this school by the local community?  Why have they not considered the impact of the loss of $2 million on a rural system of only 2,650 students.  Why do they think a school system rated as a B on the state report card needs another school?

Why did they accept at face value an application that contained “data” that could not be confirmed?  Why did they not do due diligence on “support” letters that were highly suspect?  Why did they chastise Washington County citizens for sending postcards opposing the charter?  Why have they allowed the charter school to miss deadlines in the start up process?

Here is how the process works.

Two of these appointments will be filled by Governor Kay Ivey, two by Speaker of the House Mac McCutheon and one by Senate President Del Marsh.  (In addition, there is currently a vacancy in another seat because of the resignation of Chad Fincher in March.  This slot is to be filled by Senator Marsh.).

Each appointing official sends two nominations for each position to the state board of education, who make the final selection.

Should changes be made?  Or should we keep on doing what we’ve been doing?

That decision rests with the state board of education.  If you would like to weigh in on this matter, contact state school board members and let them know how you feel.  They are:

District One: Jackie Zeigler

District Two: Tracie West

District Three:  Stephanie Bell

District Four:  Yvette Richardson

District Five:  Ella Bell 

District Six:  Cynthia McCarty

District Seven:  Jeff Newman

District Eight:  Wayne Reynolds