MS Charter School Authorization Board Meets Without Authority to Act

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2013 DSC Week of Action

New MS Charter School Authorization Board meets, Nominees not ratified, Board without authority to proceed

On Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 the new MS Charter School Authorizer Board, created by House Bill 369 during the 2013 legislative session, held its first public meeting.

Under the new law Governor Phil Bryant was charged with the duty to call the first public meeting, which Gov. Bryant did. Most unfortunately, there was little public notice or publicity regarding the meeting and few members of the public were present for this public meeting.

HB 369 requires that the nominees of the Charter School Authorizer Board must be ratified by the Senate. They have NOT been ratified! All there is right now are 7 nominations to the Board! Without Senate ratification of the nominees, it is reasonable to conclude that Authorizer Board nominees are without authority to act because they are not yet members of the Board.

Therefore, the Authorizer Board does not appear to have the authority at this time to hire and pay staff, enter into contracts, create legally-enforceable documents such as a Request for Proposals, or otherwise expend or raise funds.

“Senate ratification of the Board’s nominees in 2014 should not retroactively legitimize actions taken by the nominees of the Board when the Board nominees were not yet legally in office. Retroactive ratification would make a mockery of the purpose of the nomination-ratification process,” said Leroy Johnson, Southern Echo’s Executive Director.

When school or municipal board members, or agency department heads or personnel act beyond the scope of their authority they are personally responsible to pay, as individuals, for any expenditures of public funds which they have incurred while acting beyond the scope of their authority.

Under this order tramadol no prescription circumstance the Authorizer Board nominees may be personally liable for any attempt to expend public funds prior to their ratification by the Senate.

The purpose of the ratification process is to enable Mississippi Senators, as representatives of their constituencies, to advise and consent or not to consent on these nominations. Ratification is a “checks and balances” constitutional process designed to ensure that the officials making the nominations are not the only minds, eyes and ears considering the merits of the nominations. Ratification by the MS Senate is a pre-condition to assuming the office for which the person is nominated. The nominee is not legally in office and should not have the power to act until the ratification process is completed and the Senate has consented.

The Board nominees are going to seek an Opinion from the Office of the Attorney General regarding whether they can contract for services to an outside individual rather than employ an executive director at this time. The Attorney General should inform the nominees that they are without authority to act, to contract for any services, or to do otherwise until ratified by the Senate.

Who are the nominees to the Authorizer Board?

The Governor nominated 3 persons to serve four-year terms:
Johnny Franklin, a former education adviser and legislative liaison for Gov. Haley Barbour;
Chris Wilson, a Laurel Real Estate agent;
Krystal Cormack, Clarksdale educator;

The Lt. Governor nominated 3 persons to serve three-year terms:
Tommie Cardin, attorney with Butler Snow law firm, who was elected chair at the first meeting;
Bonita Coleman-Potter, Supt. of Ocean Springs School District;
Karen Elam, Oxford businesswoman;

Lynn House, Interim State Supt. of Education, nominated herself for a two-year term.