Mississippi Constitution: Education (Article 8)

I don’t intend to get in the controversy about the IHL’s decision to not renew Dr. Dan Jones contract.  I also don’t want to allow this site to be a forum of public discussion.  I do, however, like it when citizens are interested in the Mississippi Constitution.  I encourage all citizens to read the constitution.

There have been a number of efforts to revise Mississippi’s Constitution, but none have been successful.

Mississippi’s Constitution has divided the State’s primary and secondary education.

Grades K through 12, are governed by the State Board of Education (Art. 8, Sec. 203) through the Superintendent of Public Education (Art. 8, Sec. 202), the Superintendent of Public Education for each county (Art. 8, Sec 204), and the superintendent of municipal schools (not a constitutional office).  The State Board of Public Education is appointed by the Governor (5 appointees, which includes 1 school administrator and 1 school teacher, the Lt. Governor (2 at large appointees), and the Speaker of the House (2 at large appointees).

Secondary education, or “institutions of higher learning,” are governed by the “Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.”  The following information comes from Article 8, Section 2013-A of the Mississippi Constitution.

These “institutions” include: University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women, University of Southern Mississippi, Delta State University, Alcorn State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, “and any others of like kind which may be hereafter organized or established by the State of Mississippi.”

There are 12 members of the board, and they are appointed by the Governor.  The members serve 12 year terms.  One-third of the board is replaced every 4 years.

The qualifications of the board members is as follows.  “The Governor shall appoint only men or women as such members as shall be qualified electors residing in the district from which each is appointed, and at least twenty-five (25) years of age, and of the highest order of intelligence, character, learning, and fitness for the performance of such duties, to the end that such board shall perform the high and honorable duties thereof to the greatest advantage of the people of the state of such educational institutions, uninfluenced by any political considerations.”  (Emphasis added).

The Board’s authority is limited.  “Such board shall have the power and authority to elect the heads of the various institutions of higher learning, and contract with all deans, professors and other members of the teaching staff, and all administrative employees of said institutions for a term not exceeding four (4) years; but said board shall have the power and authority to terminate any such contract at any time for malfeasance, inefficiency or contumacious conduct, but never for political reasons.”  (Emphasis added).

The final provision states, “Nothing herein contained shall in any way limit or take away the power the Legislature had and possessed, if any, at the time of the adoption of this amendment, to consolidate, abolish or change the status of any of the above named institutions.”

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