/Senate rejects Gov Tate Reeves’ controversial pick for board of education

Senate rejects Gov Tate Reeves’ controversial pick for board of education

Nonprofit Mississippi News Thursday morning, the Senate Education committee rejected the nomination by former Senator Nancy Collins. Collins was a key ally to Gov. Tate Reeves was appointed to the state board for education. Collins appeared before the committee Thursday morning to be confirmed for her position on the state board for education. This body sets policy and makes decisions about the state’s 466,000 public school students. After Collins introduced herself to the committee, and answering a question from the chair, Sen. Hob, D-Amory voted to place her nomination. The hearing was abruptly stopped by the majority of members who concurred in a voice vote. Reeves’ rejection of Collins is a hard defeat in his first year as governor. Reeves’ January announcement of Collins’ appointment was met with harsh criticism by public school advocates. In her five years of service as a state senator, she supported controversial legislation regarding school choice. Reeves blamed Collins’ rejection in a press conference, and criticised Senate Republicans for allowing it. Reeves stated that “an awful lot of Republicans are worried about the amount of influence Democrats hold in the Mississippi Senate. Particularly with respect to education.” “… She was a conservative. Because she is conservative, she was defeated. It is even more regrettable that some Republicans on the committee allowed that to happen.” Collins’ nomination was unusual in that Reeves announced it in January 2020 during his last days as lieutenant governor. However, a backdated letter obtained Mississippi Today by Mississippi Today indicates that he actually nominated Collins in July 2019, when the seat opened up. A group that advocates for public education encouraged its members to call their state senators to oppose Collins’ nomination after the announcement was made public. The nomination is unique in that Reeves submitted it after he had left office, which caused delays in Collins’s acceptance. The Senate is not known for refusing to nominate the outgoing officeholder, and instead leaves the job to the new incumbent. On Thursday, Collins’ nomination was rejected. Lt. Gov. Lt. Gov. Collins was rebuffed on Thursday. Collins has been a member of the state board for education since January 16, 2020. He was also a participant in meetings. The board meets monthly to discuss policy, adopt rules and make recommendations for the Mississippi Department of Education. Charles McClelland’s term ended in July 2019, and she was replaced by her. The Mississippi State Board of Education consists of nine members, each serving nine-year terms. The governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the house appoint members. Five positions are appointed by the governor: one for each of the North, Central and South Supreme Court districts. Each speaker and the lieutenant governor get two representatives at-large. This means that they don’t have to meet any occupational or residential requirements. The state superintendent is appointed by the board. She also serves as the secretary of the board. Two student representatives serve as non-voting members of the board. Collins was a senator and authored controversial school choice programs. The Education Scholarship Account program allows students with special needs to receive public funding for private schools. Although some believe the program allows parents to do the best for their children, others have criticized it for multiple reasons. One reason is the claim that there was no accountability for the program. The Legislature updated the program this year to give more oversight. Collins briefly suggested legislation that would have frozen, for a time, their annual cost-of-living adjustment. This was to the dismay and disappointment of teachers and public retirees. After the protests from retired people, she decided not to file the legislation. In a 2015 reelection campaign, Collins was defeated by Sen. Chad McMahan (R-Guntown), who is on the Senate Education committee that approved her confirmation. Although technically Collins’ nomination could be revived while the Legislature remains in session, Senate officials confirmed to Mississippi Today that she is dead.