Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Board discusses changing school boundary lines

J-E News Editor
Webster County Clerk Valerie Newell met with the school board on Monday to discuss redoing board member boundaries.

“Each ten years we have a federal census,” Newell said. “There are very strict rules that the county must go by. But the school district’s rules are very vague.”
Earlier this year the Newell announced that population shifts in the Providence and Slaughters areas had forced a realignment of magisterial districts, changing the polling places for around 400 Webster County residents.
This just worsened a gap that already existed between the school board boundaries and the voting precincts. As an example, Newell said that she had three residents who lived near Clay that voted for the Clay school board member but the Providence magistrate. As a result, these county has to pay to have a voting booth in Providence set up for just these three voters. Because of state law the county must also print paper ballots for these three, which can only be ordered fifty at a time.
“I feel like, over the years, these voters have not received the ballots they were supposed to get,” Newell said. “I’m just asking that you take a look at your boundary lines.”
Newell also said that the district’s current boundaries are based on a piece of paper that as found in an old filing cabinet when she was elected to office a decade ago. Many of those boundaries follow old creek beds and ditches.
“Nobody had a copy of the official school boundary lines,” she said. “I’d like to get this cleaned up.”
“I don’t see any reason why, if it helps to streamline the election process, we don’t go ahead and work on it.”
The board task Superintendant Pete Galloway and Board Attorney Brandi Rogers to work with Newell to develop an acceptable realignment that would more closely match the magisterial districts.
In other business, Galloway told the board that there are still vacant coaching positions for boys soccer, archery and volleyball. The middle school principal’s position has also been posted.
Galloway then reported to the board on the current situation with the construction of the middle school.
“We are about where we need to be,” he said. “There are still some questions with the cafeteria renovations, but I think they are doing the best they can.”