Panel advances idea of appointing SC schools chief

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The governor could appoint South Carolina's education chief under legislation advanced by a Senate panel.

A proposal advanced Thursday to the Judiciary Committee would ask voters whether the superintendent should continue to be elected statewide or chosen by the governor.

If voters approve the constitutional amendment in 2014, the governor would make the first appointment in 2018.

First-term Superintendent Mick Zais plans to seek re-election in 2014. He has supported the idea since announcing his candidacy in 2009. He lists the measure's passage among his priorities this year.

Zais says having the superintendent work directly for the governor will improve accountability for improving public schools.

Previous attempts to put the question to voters have failed.

During both terms of former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, a Democrat held the superintendent's seat.

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