Ousted Phenix City School Board president hopeful of vote to change how board members are selected

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - A referendum is on the ballot for Phenix City to potentially change the way the school board is selected.

Now, the board is appointed by city officials, but if enough people check "yes" the board would be elected by the people.

All seven members of the Phenix City Board of Education were in a scheduled meeting following the city's announcement that there will be a referendum on the ballot to potentially change the way people get to sit around the table.

"It's always been appointed for a number of years and I think that's been good for the districts," said Paul Stamp, Phenix City Board of Education president.

Stamp was recently not re-appointed by city officials in April.

"I've been part of the school district all of my life. My kids graduated from the high school and my grandchildren are in the high school," said Stamp.

Stamp said he doesn't know why he was not reappointed because he feels like the district is the best it's been.

"With me helping everything comes to the top and that's where we are now at our school district, the top," Stamp said.

Stamp was asked if he would run for a spot to be back on the board if the referendum is passed to where people elect the school board.

"I would. I sure would," replied Stamp.

City officials elected Samuel Estrada, a reverend, to fill Stamp's spot.

For other board members, all but one said they didn't want to go on record and have no comment on the potential of change. Board member William Lawrence says he wants to keep the board as appointed versus elected.

The ousted president believes a referendum could mean light at the end of the tunnel.

"After being part of the family as long as I have been, it hurt. It hurts, but it is what it is and I've got to suck it up and continue on. If we have an elected school board, I'll get my butt out there, run, and get back on," explained Stamp.

The referendum is on the ballot for August 28. If it passes, two school board members would be elected from each of the three city council districts and one would be elected at-large.

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