S.C.. House lawmakers gave key approval today a resolution to let voters decide whether the governor should choose the state superintendent of education or whether voters should continue to elect a person to the job.
Currently, voters elect the state superintendent of education who oversees the state's public schools. If the Senate agrees with the House, voters will decide the matter when they go to the polls in 2012.
New Gov. Nikki Haley, R-Lexington, has argued the governor should appoint the superintendent to execute his or her agenda for education, the largest item in the state’s budget. Haley’s Republican predecessor and mentor, Mark Sanford, also wanted that power but was unable to convince the Legislature to give it to him.
House Democrats unsuccessfully argued voters should retain the right to choose the superintendent. It is the only statewide post that Democrats have had success winning in recent years.
Republican Mick Zais who was elected to the post in November is only the second Republican in state history to hold the $92,000-a-year job. The first Republican to hold the seat was Barbara Nielsen who served form 1990-1998.