Mayor Vetoes School Board Appointment

Tim Pratt, Commercial Dispatch (Columbus, Mississippi), March 19, 2010

Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman on Thursday vetoed the Board of Aldermen’s appointment of Susan Tomlinson to the Starkville School District board.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to veto the appointment of Susan Tomlinson to the Starkville School Board,” Wiseman said in a statement. “{snip} Knowing her personally, knowing her credentials, and knowing her outstanding record of service to the schools, I have no doubt that Mrs. Tomlinson could serve the school district capably and well. However, having reviewed a deep field of uniquely qualified applicants and the current needs of the School Board, I do not feel that Mrs. Tomlinson is the best fit for the vacant position.”

Wiseman went on to say it is important for a policy-making body like the School Board to be “representative of the community” it serves.

The Starkville School District is 64 percent black, 32 percent white, 2 percent Asian, 1 percent Native American and 1 percent Hispanic. If Tomlinson, who is white, were to serve on the school board, the board would become 80 percent white and 20 percent black.

“The Starkville Board of Aldermen has the power to appoint four of the five members of the Starkville School Board,” Wiseman said. “As such, the Board of Aldermen bears the responsibility to ensure not only that appointees are qualified to serve, but also that the School Board is representative of the diverse community it serves. Diversity of representation should be considered as an important but not controlling factor in the process of appointing a school board member.”

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