Pike BOE OKs new districts

Published 11:00 pm Monday, August 29, 2011

The Pike County Board of Education adopted a redistricting map for the Pike County School District at a called meeting Monday afternoon.

The vote followed a public hearing at 5 p.m. with all members of the board voting in favor of the proposed redistricting map with the exception of Wyman Botts, who was not present.

Pike County Superintendent Dr. Mark Bazzell said the redistricting map 2010-03 only had two relatively minor changes from the map that was agreed upon by the Pike County Board of Education and the Pike County Commission on July 21.

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“At that time, we were in agreement on Districts 1, 2, 3 and 6 but had concerns about Districts 4 and 5,” Bazzell said.

Bazzell said that the school board and the county commission were unable to schedule subsequent meetings.

“Because we were unable to do that, we (Pike County Board of Education) had to get a map finalized because we have a deadline of Aug. 31, 2010 to adopt a redistricting map and get it to the Justice Department. And, we had to give a two-week notification for a public hearing prior to the adoption of the map. We had to move ahead.”

The board moved ahead to prepare a map that it would be able to approve.

The two minor issues were in District 4 (Linda Steed) and District 5 (Herbert Reynolds).

“We were able to come to agreement on those minor issues by keeping the west side of South Main Street in Brundidge in District 4 and a small section at Richland along Highway 10 and County Road 81 in District 5,” Bazzell said. “These changes will have no bearing on school attendance. Those lines will be the same boundaries that we’ve had for a long time.”

Bazzell said there will possibly be some voter changes in all districts because of population shift.

However, the population deviation ranges from 16.6 percent to 16.8 percent in the redistricting map that the school board adopted, making all slices of the voter pie nearly the same.

Whether the Pike County Board of Education and the Pike County Commission district lines are congruent will depend on the district lines that are adopted by the county commission.

Pike County property owner Susie Copeland attended the public hearing and the board meeting. She expressed hopes that the county commission can come to an agreement on the same district lines.

“That would be in the best interest of the tax payers and the voters,” she said. “The map the board of education approved was as fair as could be. Who can fight against that?”