The House shot down Senate Bill 2199 by a 65-52 vote Monday. Proponents said it would have led to more appointed superintendents around the state.
Proponents say that, especially in small districts, the pool of people qualified to be superintendent is undesirably small. Of the state's 151 districts, 62 elect superintendents.
Opponents, though, argued passionately that ending elections was a restriction that chips away at Mississippians' rights. Rep. Forrest Hamilton, an Olive Branch Republican, likened the restriction to a poll tax.
Rep. Joe Warren, a Mount Olive Democrat, successfully amended it to require a referendum on keeping elected superintendents in each district. Before his amendment, voters would have had to petition for a vote.
Still, it failed.