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State school officials propose district lines

April 17, 2014

By Josh Presley
news@dailytimesleader.com

Representatives from the Mississippi Department of Education hosted a public meeting to discuss and approve school board member lines for the new school district Tuesday at the Clay County Courthouse.
The State of Mississippi passed legislation in September to consolidate West Point and Clay County School Districts into the new West Point Consolidated School District.
Deputy Superintendent of the Mississippi Department of Education Mike Kent said that the first part of the consolidation process is to put governance in place for the new school district.
The new law Code 37-7-104.2 reapportionment of school board member lines, prescribes a five member school board for the consolidated district. Three members must reside inside the corporate limits to West Point — to be appointed by the mayor and board of selectmen — and two elected members residing in Clay County outside the city limits.
Kent said he was assigned by the Mississippi State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright to assist in the consolidation.
“Our job is to create two board-member districts,” Kent said. “It’s an east/west scenario and is constructed along the existing court lines.”
Kent said the idea in splitting across court lines was to avoid splitting voting precincts.
“We want there to be as little confusion as possible,” Kent said. “We don’t want to have situations where you’re in one precinct for one election and another precinct for a different election.”
Mississippi Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Operations Coordinator Ben Collins presented a map for the proposed new school board member election districts.
Collins said the lines largely represent Justice Court districts.
“We came in and spoke with your community leaders about a month ago, and they gave us some ideas about things that were important to this community,” Collins said. “Primarily there was an issue on creating another level of jurisdiction on top of your voting precincts, thus creating issues with voter registration and people having to go to different places to vote for different things.”

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