House approves idea of appointing state schools chief

The South Carolina Statehouse

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The governor could appoint South Carolina’s top educator under legislation approved by the House.

The measure sent to the Senate on Thursday would ask voters whether the state superintendent should continue to be elected or chosen by the governor.

Gov. Nikki Haley is pushing for the change. She says it’s critical that the governor and superintendent work together on a shared education agenda. Haley says she works with first-term Superintendent Molly Spearman as a team, but that hasn’t been the case with previous officeholders.

If voters approve the constitutional amendment, the last election for superintendent would be in 2018. Previous attempts to send the question to voters have failed. During both terms of former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, a Democrat held the superintendent’s seat.