The Columbia County Board of Education on Tuesday settled on a 20-member task force to study the issue of having an at-large elected chairman.
The board also issued a charge to the task force: To study the issue of having a countywide elected at-large chairman and whether the board should consider changing from its present structure.
"What I envision is taking this task force, looking at the issue of government as it is now, the background, history, looking at the way the ballot was stated, looking at the vote, looking at the variations of what could come in your recommendation to the legislative delegation," task force chairman Don Thornhill told the board. "When you start dealing with these issues, then there's the ripple affect."
The task force will look at several ways the board could be structured, including having four members from the districts and one at-large chairman, or expanding the number of board members.
Thornhill said it is likely the board could wrap up its work and make a recommendation to the board before June 30.
To get to this point has required some verbal wrestling between board members, some opposed and some in favor of the idea of having an at-large chairman - something Republica voters said they favored in a straw pole vote this summer.
"Is this a change, if implemented, that will have a positive impact on the delivery of education to our children?" said Board Chairman Wayne Bridges. "If this committee comes back to us and says this is not what this system needs, is the board and our legislators prepared to accept this recommendation."
With each board member armed with a list of questions for the task force, the board ultimately decided that the charge was for the task force to decide if the board should have the power to elect its own chairman or if that right should be given to voters.
"That's ultimately the question they need to answer," Board Trustee Lee Muns said. "Whatever they come back with, there should be the reasoning as to how they came to that answer."
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