by Pat Raia
Voters may soon be able to decide who will occupy the office of the Superintendent of Hernando County Schools now that the Hernando County Legislative delegation has unanimously given the green light to legislation that would dismantle the procedure that made the position an appointed one.
The three-man delegation consisting of State Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-Spring Hill), and Florida State Reps. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) and Ralph E. Massullo, MD (R-Beverly Hills) was slated to take up the measure on Feb. 12, but only Ingoglia and Massullo attended the meeting.
“That made it unanimous,” Ingoglia said.
The vote gives Ingoglia the go-ahead to introduce legislation into the Florida House of Representatives that would eliminate the appointment process in favor of an election.
Allowing voters to choose who will be the Superintendent of Hernando County Schools will give parents and students better control over the county’s schools, Ingoglia said.
Electing the Superintendent of Hernando County Schools is not unprecedented, according to Ingoglia.
The office was an elected position until 1992 when the process was changed from election to appointment.
The latest change stems in part from a clash between the superintendent and some parents and students over a lesson that had been taught in Hernando County schools.
Ingoglia said he decided to champion the change after talking with his constituents.
The Hernando County Legislation delegation’s approval is the first step in changing the process from appointing a school’s chief and electing one. Next, Ingoglia will introduce legislation into the Florida House of Representatives that would require that a question regarding the change be placed on the ballot in 2022.
While that legislation is written, it will be another three or four weeks before it is introduced, Ingoglia said.
If that bill passes, Hernando County residents will be able to cast a vote on the 2022 general election ballot to eliminate the appointment process in favor of an election.
If the referendum is approved, the first election for Superintendent of Schools will take place in 2026.
Update: The article was updated with a change from curricula to lesson to reflect that the material that resulted in a social media outcry was not a part of the prescribed state curriculum, but a teacher’s addition to a class that contained ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) promotional material. There was also a student-led but school-supported BLM event that was raised as an issue.