Redistricting divisions for the Bell County School Board was the focal point of Tuesday’s meeting. The issues was brought up when a member of the public submitted a letter regarding the situation.
The Commissioner of Education gave the board 30 days to develop a plan to address the issue. The deadline is set for Oct. 1. The board will divide the district into five divisions based on population. The changes will not affect any races until 2018.
Superintendent Yvonne Gilliam submitted four proposals to the board in attempt to get started. Several additional proposals were later submitted in addition to one by board member Doug Ramsey.
Discussion regarding the potential change got heated during the meeting mainly due to the potential of districts being changed or certain areas being relocated to other divisions.
“You are not going to come up with a proposal that all five of you like,” said Gilliam.
Ramsey said that realistically everybody would be getting 3,200 people in their district, but that’s not going to happen.
“I think it’s something that needed balanced,” said Ramsey. “I think we can do this without killing everybody. I think we try to keep it kinda where we’re already at.”
Gilliam said she contacted four attorneys in an attempt to get direction on the matter. She also said that she doesn’t believe the board will get much direction on how to handle the issue.
Ramsey and Larry Elliott will be the first members to be affected by the redistricting. Both showed concerns throughout the discussion
“We’ve got to figure the district up in population,” said board chair Dean Knuckles. “Whether it concerns me, Brent, Doug, Larry and Eulene. We can’t sit here and say this is going to mess my race up, we can’t do this.”
The board decided to table the discussion. There will be a special-called meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday to further discuss the matter.
Other items discussed during the meeting include:
• Approve minutes of Aug. 16 regular scheduled meeting;
• Approve correction to minutes of the June 21 regular scheduled meeting;
• Approve GearUp MOA;
• Approve 2016-2017 Bell-Whitley contract;
• Approve purchase of a handicap bus;
• Approve emergency certification for a mathematics teacher at BCHS.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN